William Wesley

Latest On Knicks’ Front Office Shakeup

As the Knicks restructure their front office, Allan Houston appears to be in line for a promotion, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

Houston, 48, was New York’s former assistant general manager and currently serves as GM for the organization’s G League affiliate in Westchester. He was a strong proponent of hiring that team’s former head coach, Mike Miller, as the Knicks’ interim coach after David Fizdale was fired. Houston has been with the organization since 2008 and has survived multiple management shakeups.

Bondy shares information on a few other prominent figures:

  • The Knicks have given up on an attempt to lure Rich Cho from the Grizzlies‘ front office. A source tells Bondy that Cho is happy in Memphis, where the team is a surprise playoff contender with a bright future built around Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. Cho has more than two decades of experience as an NBA executive and is a former GM with both Charlotte and Portland.
  • Vice president of player development Craig Robinson, best known as the brother of former First Lady Michelle Obama, is seeing a reduction in responsibilities. Robinson was hired three years ago by ousted team president Steve Mills to run the Knicks’ player development initiative. However, the organization has experienced a mixed draft record during that time and is using a lineup mostly consisting of players who were developed by other teams.
  • No decision has been made on GM Scott Perry, but he has a strong relationship with William Wesley (“Worldwide Wes”), who will have an unofficial role with the team through his close ties to incoming president of basketball operations Leon Rose. Perry was an executive in Detroit when Wesley was managing former Pistons star Richard Hamilton.
  • Bondy confirms that Tom Thibodeau, a former client of Rose’s Creative Artists Agency, is expected to be considered for the head coaching job.

Knicks Notes: Wesley, Calipari, Sanon, Harkless, Rose

William Wesley is not expected to join the Knicks front office in any formal capacity, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. Known around NBA circles as “Worldwide Wes,” Wesley is a business partner of player agent Leon Rose, who is expected to be named the team’s head of basketball operations. It’s believed the Knicks would offer a position to Wesley if he wanted a front-office role, but his other business ventures make a formal title unlikely, Charania adds.

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Former Kentucky players Kevin Knox and Julius Randle doubt that their former college coach, John Calipari, would want to return to the NBA to coach the team, Peter Botte of the New York Post relays. “The fans love him there, he’s got the basketball program on lock there,” Knox said. “I don’t think he would leave that opportunity to keep helping kids get to the NBA. That’s something he really loves to do. I think when he said he wasn’t going to do it, I think he was sold on that. I think he really doesn’t want to leave.”
  • It’s doubtful Ukrainian guard Issuf Sanon will ever play for the Knicks, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Sanon was thrown into the three-team trade that sent Marcus Morris to the Clippers. New York acquired Sanon from Washington, which made him a draft-and-stash second-round pick in 2018. It’s possible he could join the Knicks’ summer league team in Las Vegas, Berman adds.
  • Forward Maurice Harkless, who was also acquired from the Clippers in the same trade, is thrilled to join the organization, Berman writes in a separate story. Harkless has an expiring $11MM contract and could be bought out but he has an affinity for the Knicks. “It’s a dream come true,’’ he said. “I was a Knicks fan growing up. I loved watching the Knicks on TV, I loved coming to the Garden for games when I could. And I actually played at the Garden in college, too, so it’s like I’ve come full circle now.’’
  • Rose’s connections around the league could make him the right fit to run the Knicks, NBA executives told Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Knicks Refute Brand Consultant’s Claim Miller Will Be Fired

The Knicks have issued a statement refuting an assertion by brand consultant and CEO of Translation Steve Stoute that interim coach Mike Miller will not be retained after the season (Twitter link). Stoute stirred up a controversy on ESPN’s “First Take” when he indicated Miller’s future had already been determined, New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy relays.

“There had to be a change in [firing team president Steve Mills]. That change will bring a new coach and new coaches that are going to help develop these younger players,” Stoute said in the TV interview. “And they got some young players — you see RJ Barrett, Mitch Robinson. They got something to work with. And getting a coach in there and ultimately getting a coach and a coaching staff that’s going to help develop a team.”

The Knicks replaced Mills last week with longtime agent Leon Rose. The Knicks’ statement suggested that Rose – whose hiring hasn’t yet been officially announced -will decide who coaches the team next season.

“While Steve Stoute is a valued contributor to the Knicks’ marketing and branding efforts, he does not speak on behalf of New York Knicks personnel and basketball operations. Any decisions regarding the operations of the team will be made by the new President of the New York Knicks.”

The team’s statement also included a clarification by Stoute, who said in part he “inadvertently insinuated about Knicks personnel.”

While it’s logical to conclude Miller’s chances of remaining the coach are diminished with the firing of Mills, the Knicks have once again been thrust into a PR mess while putting Miller in an awkward position.

Stoute is well-connected within the organization and is a close friend with Rose’s confidant William Wesley, who is expected to have a role within the franchise, Bondy notes.

However, Stoute shouldn’t be passing himself off as a basketball expert, Frank Isola of The Athletic tweets. Rose’s top priority should be to define roles throughout the organization while the coach should be the public voice of the team, Isola adds.

Knicks Plan To Hire Leon Rose As Head Of Basketball Operations

The Knicks and CAA player agent Leon Rose are nearing a deal that would make him the team’s new head of basketball operations, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reported with Ramona Shelburne that Rose had become a top target for the Knicks, confirms that the team plans to hire the veteran agent as its next president (Twitter links). Ian Begley of SNY.tv first reported (via Twitter) that the Knicks had interest in Rose.

As Wojnarowski details (via Twitter), Rose has been one of the NBA’s top agents for years and has a star-studded list of clients that includes Joel Embiid, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Karl-Anthony Towns. The Knicks have plenty of experience dealing with Rose, as he also represents Carmelo Anthony.

Rose is expected to assume control of a front office that was previously run by Steve Mills, who was dismissed from his position as president of basketball operations earlier this week.

General manager Scott Perry took over as the top man in New York’s front office on an interim basis following Mills’ ouster, and he appears to be running the show for today’s trade deadline. He and the Knicks have a mutual option for 2020/21, meaning both sides would have to pick up that option for Perry to remain with the team, so we’ll see how that situation plays out. Newsday’s Steve Popper (Twitter link) hears that Perry is not expected to stay on under the new regime.

William Wesley, better known as “World Wide Wes,” is a strong candidate to join the Knicks’ front office under Rose, a source tells Begley (Twitter link). Wes, who is well-connected with players around the NBA, is a CAA consultant and has a strong relationship with Rose, according to Begley.

After firing Mills, the Knicks were immediately linked to Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, who has long been considered New York’s dream candidate. However, given how quickly New York moved forward on its front office search, it seems as if Ujiri wasn’t a serious option, despite rumblings that he might have interest in the job.

Begley had reported this morning (via Twitter) that there was “serious pessimism” surrounding the Knicks’ pursuit of Ujiri, in part due to the compensation that would have been required to get him out of his Raptors contract. With the Knicks moving in another direction, fans in Toronto can rest easy.

Before deciding on Rose, the Knicks were said to be considering a handful of other player agents as they look to emulate a model that has succeeded for the Warriors and Lakers, who hired former agents Bob Myers and Rob Pelinka, respectively.

Austin Brown and Roger Montgomery were among the agents reportedly receiving consideration from the Knicks, along with B.J. Armstrong, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News reported this morning (via Twitter).

Once Rose is officially hired by the Knicks, one of his first tasks this spring will be making a decision on the team’s head coach. Mike Miller has held that position on an interim basis since replacing David Fizdale earlier in the season.