William Wesley is basketball's man of mystery. He's the man standing outside the visitors' locker room at TD Garden after the Cavaliers' Game 6 loss in Boston, among LeBron James' circle of trust, which includes agent Leon Rose, personal assistant Randy Mims and friend and business partner Maverick Carter. They are, as James called them, "my team," and they all have a piece of LeBron Inc.
Wesley, known as "Worldwide Wes," is the power broker who developed a legend since the days when he was brought into Michael Jordan's inner circle in the 1980s. He is unaffiliated with any team but connected to every one. He isn't a player agent but personally knows just about every player. His skill is an uncanny ability to connect stars like a constellation and, as James prepares to make a major career decision in free agency this summer, Wesley has positioned himself at the epicenter.
According to several sources with knowledge of the situation, Wesley is attempting to execute a seismic plan that would connect Kentucky coach John Calipari - for whom Wesley has helped land some of the nation's top recruits - with James and either the Nets or Chicago Bulls. A source with ties to Calipari told Newsday that there already have been backchannel discussions, as recently as this past weekend, between a Calipari confidant and the Bulls' organization.
James and Calipari have forged a mutual admiration through Wesley. James is enamored of Calipari's dribble-drive offense and even met with Calipari last summer to discuss the system and philosophy. Calipari, the ultimate recruiter, believes he can close the deal with James if he lands with an NBA team with the salary-cap space to offer a max contract to the two-time MVP. It's the kind of scenario that could torpedo the Knicks' plans before the clock strikes midnight July 1.
Wesley recently applied for certification with the NBA and NCAA to be an agent for coaches. His first client is expected to be Calipari. The plan Wesley is promoting is quite simple: Hire Calipari and James will follow.
The Bulls are prepared to listen, but it seems against Jerry Reinsdorf's nature to yield that much control of his franchise.
Prokhorov certainly is looking to make a major splash this summer and, with James' friend Jay-Z as a small investor, the Nets could be more than willing to do whatever it takes to lure LeBron to Newark and, eventually, Brooklyn.
The Knicks are out of this equation because they don't have a coaching vacancy, so there's no place for Calipari. And Donnie Walsh isn't about to fire Mike D'Antoni, who, by the way, has been running the same system in the NBA since 2005.
The Knicks are well aware of Wesley's reach, however. In fact, they worked with him as recently as last summer, when the Knicks were at wit's end with Eddy Curry, a Rose client. Wesley offered his services to Walsh to help get Curry in shape.
Just how much influence will Wesley have on James? Several NBA players raved to Newsday about Wesley as a person. "Always someone I could talk to and enjoyed being around," one player said. "He is everywhere and knows everyone."
Another player said: "He's a guy who everyone wonders who he is, but he's never been involved with doing anything wrong. People just get threatened by him because they don't know his exact title. He's never asked me for a dime."
But there is skepticism that he will have that much of an impact on James' decision.
"I believe his power with LeBron is overrated," a third NBA player said. "Others think he's the key to LBJ. Sure, he's trying to pull off a bunch of deals. But who knows?"