Knicks president Leon Rose slowly has been adding pieces to the front office throughout the months since he took over. But in the background, William Wesley was always there.
The Knicks made it official on Wednesday morning, announcing that Wesley will join the front office as executive vice president and senior basketball adviser. The move renews a long-running partnership of Rose and Wesley, regarded as two of the most powerful people in the sport.
“We are very excited to announce the hiring of William Wesley, someone that I have known for over 40 years and consider to be family,” Rose said in a statement. “He is one of the most well-connected and respected people in the basketball community and he will be a tremendous asset and resource to both myself and the New York Knicks.”
“My long history with and respect for Jim Dolan and Leon Rose, as well as the chance to be part of the New York Knicks made this an opportunity I wanted to pursue,” Wesley said in a statement. “I look forward to joining the current staff and moving the organization toward a successful future.”
Wesley, who was still serving as an adviser to Creative Artists Agency where he teamed with Rose since 2007, already has been a presence in the Knicks' offseason moves, according to multiple sources. The 55-year-old New Jersey native grew up playing ball in the same area as Rose. Rose was his attorney as "World Wide Wes" developed deep ties among some of the game’s biggest stars.
He was regarded as an influential adviser to Madison Square Garden executive chairman and CEO James Dolan nearly a decade ago as the Knicks' roster was stocked with CAA clients, including Carmelo Anthony and even the coach, Mike Woodson. Knicks executives such as Allan Houston also were clients.
But Wesley’s biggest strength is in connections throughout the professional and college ranks. With the possibility of a huge amount of cap space in what could be a huge free-agent market next summer, Wesley and Rose are the Knicks' latest chance to provide an alluring home to stars, something the organization has long failed at, including last summer when they could not even get a sit-down with any of the stars on the market.
“My philosophy is that our goal has to be to create an environment where players will want to come here. The way to do that is on the day-to-day with the players that we have and with the organization that we have,” Rose said in an interview with Mike Breen that will air Wednesday night on "MSG 150 at Home."
“And making sure every aspect of that is player friendly and first class. We’re going to work as hard as we can to show people that this is a place where you want to be. We have the greatest city in the world, an iconic arena. And we just need to create a culture that people are going to want to be a part of. And I believe that happens step by step. You have to build a foundation. And if you do it the right way, they will come.”