Knicks Rumors: Worldwide Wes Has Influenced James Dolan's Decisions for 15 Years

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2020

Executive chairman and Madison Square Garden CEO James Dolan, center, watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the New York Knicks and the Sacramento Kings in New York, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. The Kings defeated the Knicks 113-92. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

While William Wesley will be working for the New York Knicks in an official capacity for the first time as their executive vice president, the longtime CAA consultant has been a behind-the-scenes player 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 Creative Arts Agency, has been one of the NBA's worst-kept secrets for years. The hiring of Wesley and President of Basketball Operations Leon Rose is seen as formalizing a relationship that's long existed behind closed doors.

Wesley is known as one of basketball's biggest power brokers. He's had close relationships with superstar players, high-profile coaches and in media circles despite operating under a cloak of anonymity to most casual fans.

A former Knicks coach said Wesley's influence on Dolan is legendary. Wesley allegedly had more sway than former general manager Glen Grunwald, who was replaced by Steve Mills in 2013 at Worldwide Wes' behest.

Rose was a longtime CAA agent who has considered Wesley a close confidante. Wesley's hiring has drawn polarizing responses around the NBA, with those who are close to Wes complimenting the Knicks and those with a less-than-strong relationship with him ripping the move.

Former Knicks forward Rasheed Wallace called the move a "brain fart" by the organization. Neither Wesley nor Rose have any experience running an organization from the team side. Their speciality has been being a power broker on the other side of the negotiating table, and it remains unclear whether that can translate to on-court success.

That said, it may be better for all parties involved to have Wesley in a formal role than potentially undermining any other hire.