The Knicks made the move to hire Mark Warkentien official. Rather than just label him a consultant, Warkentien was instead given an official title as Director, Pro Player Personnel.
Warkentien previously served as general manager and vice president of basketball operations with the Denver Nuggets, from 2006 until 2010, when the franchise decided not to renew his contract in a major front office shakeup that also saw Rex Chapman ousted as vice president of player personnel. Warkentien was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2008-09, when he pulled off a blockbuster trade that sent Allen Iverson to the Pistons for Chauncey Billups. The move turned the Nuggets into a championship contender and that season they advanced to the Western Conference Finals, before losing to the eventual-champion Lakers.
The move adds to Walsh's staff a basketball executive with experience in completing major trades, which obviously helps with the NBA trade deadline approaching on Feb. 24 and the team pursuing Carmelo Anthony. Warkentien's knowledge of the Nuggets, and Anthony, are the other obvious connection here. The Knicks are believed to be Anthony's top preference and Warkentien will be expected to help broker a deal with Denver.
Not only does Warkentien have a connection with the Nuggets, but he also is represented by the same agency that represents Anthony, Creative Artists Agency. Notorious basketball attache William "Worldwide Wes" Wesley, who works with CAA and Anthony's agent, Leon Rose, is intertwined in all of this. Wesley's reputation has taken somewhat of a hit over the last year, especially in the wake of the LeBron James free agency process. To get Carmelo what he wants -- a trade to New York and $65 million extension with the Knicks -- would certainly be a favorable result for him.
The Knicks are clearly using every available ally they can get to make this deal happen.