Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 9/13/12
MIAMI LeBron James is switching agents. But a source close to the situation stressed Thursday this is no indication James is considering opting out early from his Miami Heat contract. The source told FOX Sports Florida that James filed his paperwork Wednesday with the NBA Players Association to drop Leon Rose of Creative Artists Agency as his agent and replace him with James longtime friend, Rich Paul. Paul notified CAA earlier this week he would be leaving to form his own agency, which will be based in Cleveland. James is under contract with the Heat through 2015-16, but he can opt out as soon as the summer of 2014. However, the source said nothing should be read into James switching agents that he is thinking of then opting out and that James continues to approach matters one season at a time. The source said James made the change because he wants to be associated with his longtime friend as he starts out on his own. The source said a good relationship is maintained with Rose, who had been his agent since 2005 and who joined CAA in 2007. Rose did not return a message seeking comment. The Sports Business Journal first reported James would be switching agents. James, a native of Akron, Ohio, who has known Paul since the two were teenagers in Northeast Ohio, already has a marketing relationship with Paul in his LRMR company. The initials come from the first names of childhood friends who call themselves the "Four Horsemen." In addition to James and Paul, the others are James manager Maverick Carter and business associate Randy Mims. LRMR's management was turned over to the Fenway Sports Group in 2011, and James received a piece of ownership in English soccer team Liverpool FC. Paul is considered an up-and-coming agent who in his three-plus years at CAA represented NBA players Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Tristan Thompson, Eric Bledsoe and Cory Joseph. While the source said James so far is the only player to have filed paperwork to change agents, its certainly possible those players also could switch representation to Pauls new agency. Paul is James third agent since he entered the NBA with Cleveland in 2003. He was represented by Aaron Goodwin from 2003-05. CAA also represents Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Their agent is Chicago-based Henry Thomas. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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