While William Wesley will work for the New York Knicks in an official capacity for the first time as executive vice president, longtime CAA consultant has been behind the scenes for a while.
Marc Berman of the New York Post noted that Wesley, better known as “Worldwide Wes”, has been “in the ear” of Knicks owner James Dolan for the past 15 years. That influence, along with the influence of the Creative Arts Agency, has been one of the NBA’s best kept secrets for years. The hiring of Wesley and the president of basketball operations Leon Rose is seen as the formalization of a relationship that has long existed behind closed doors.
Wesley is known as one of the biggest power brokers in basketball. He has had close relationships with superstar players, high profile coaches and in media circles despite operating under a cloak of anonymity for most casual fans.
A former Knicks manager said Wesley’s influence on Dolan is legendary. Wesley would have had more influence than former general manager Glen Grunwald, who was replaced by Steve Mills in 2013 at the behest of Worldwide Wes.
Rose was a longtime CAA agent who considered Wesley a close confidant. The hiring of Wesley drew polarizing responses around the NBA, with those who are close to Wes complimenting the Knicks and those with an anything but strong relationship with him who tear the move.
Former striker Knicks Rasheed Wallace called the move a “brain fart” by the organization. Neither Wesley nor Rose have any experience in managing an organization from the team side. Their specialty has been to mediate power on the other side of the negotiating table, and it is not clear whether this could translate into success on the pitch.
With that said, it might be better for all parties involved to have Wesley in a formal role than to undermine any other assumptions.