It was time for the draft’s 23rd pick. The Knicks wer…

It was time for the draft’s 23rd pick. The Knicks were on the clock. “We need Quickley, get Quickley,” William Wesley repeated, over and over and over and over. Wesley — the ubiquitous consultant/adviser/star-whisperer/power broker whose reputation has earned him the moniker “World Wide Wes” — had joined the Knicks as an executive vice president and senior adviser in June and had spent the months since pushing Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley at every turn. He knew that the Boston Celtics, picking at No. 26, had worked out Quickley and come away impressed. He was worried they’d steal his guy. He wanted the Knicks to pounce.

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At times, meetings with Thibodeau and Aller grew heated. Thibodeau would even mock Aller and call him “Hinkie” (a reference to Sam Hinkie, architect of the Philadelphia 76ers “Process”). Some around the team found this tussling strange. It’s one thing for a group that’s been together for years to debate the organization’s direction; it’s another to have this kind of philosophical disagreement among new hires brought in by a team president, who, in theory, during interviews would have shared his plan. “Leon’s communication isn’t always great,” a second person with close Knicks ties said. “He can be hands-off.”
“When Wes said ‘we,’ people weren’t sure if he was referring to the Knicks or Kentucky,” one NBA source said, referring to his longtime friendship with Kentucky coach John Calipari. Wesley would direct all sorts of conversations back to the school. Prospects from other programs — they weren’t tough enough to handle Kentucky. NBA stars who had played for Duke, like Jayson Tatum and Zion Williamson — Kentucky hadn’t actually wanted them. When conversations centered around players not connected to the school — or Creative Artists Agency, where he and Rose had worked — he’d often close his eyes. Wesley participated in some calls while driving. He went on all sorts of tangents, once making the group listen to the Jay-Z song “Empire State of Mind” because he had played it during the private pre-draft workout for Kevin Knox. One time he changed his shirt on camera, revealing his bare chest to the group.
One Western Conference executive told The Athletic that Thibodeau wouldn’t have secured a quick hire like this had Rose passed on the opportunity to run the Knicks. He likely would’ve had to pay his dues, possibly in an assistant coaching role, in an effort to swallow some ego and show he was willing to adapt and work to get another shot. “(I) wouldn’t say (Thibodeau) wasn’t considered a good coach anymore,” the executive said. “People know he can coach. But it’s tough to gauge how much of that was the Wolves organization with their issues and how much of it was Tom not being a modern coach.”
In a great stat, Thibodeau’s winning percentage with Rose on the roster is 63 percent. Without Rose, it’s 46 percent. Rose notched four steals Saturday. One NBA source said regarding the new administration’s decision-making, “At the end of the day, it’s about what Thibs wants.’’
Marc J. Spears: The Knicks have hired Gene Cross as a college scout, a source told The Undefeated. He previously was the Amateur Scouting Director for the Kings.
Mike Vorkunov: The Knicks are planning to hire Pops Mensah-Bonsu as president and director of G League operations, sources tell me and @Shams Charania. Mensah-Bonsu, a four-year NBA vet, served as GM of the Wizards‘ G League team last season and previously was a scout for the Spurs.
The Knicks have made a few new hires to their scouting staff. They added Larry Greer as an advance scout and also brought on former Mavericks scout Reggie Johnson, a league source told The Athletic. Fred Cofield, who had been a scout, is now an assistant to the general manager. The Knicks have also hired two new video coordinators. That continues a reformation of both the front office and coaching staff since March.
Knicks owner James Dolan has another chief adviser as MSG Sports hired David Hopkinson on Monday to oversee its sports properties. In a press release, the Garden said Hopkinson has “more than 25 years of diverse sports industry experience.” He was named executive vice president of MSG Sports in charge of its “strategic vision” and president of team business operations.
Marc J. Spears: Won’t be surprised if Kings reach out to the new regime Knicks for permission to talk to GM Scott Perry about opening. Perry played a key role in the Kings drafting De’Aaron Fox and signing vets like George Hill & Vince Carter in short stint. Also worked for Dumars with Pistons.
Will the Knicks be able to add one of the top assistants in college basketball to Tom Thibodeau’s staff? Entering the weekend, some in the Knick organization were optimistic that Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne would choose to make the jump to the NBA, per sources. Payne joined John Calipari’s coaching staff at Kentucky prior to the 2010-11 season and was promoted to associate coach in 2014. Prior to working at Kentucky, Payne served as an assistant coach at the University of Oregon. He also played four NBA seasons with the 76ers from 1989-1993. He’s considered one of the top assistant coaches in the NCAA and is certainly one of the highest-paid assistants in the sport.
Given Payne’s salary at Kentucky, it’s safe to assume that the Knicks would have to make a generous offer procure the coach. Would that set the market internally for what they’d have to pay other Thibodeau assistants? That’s unclear, but something worth keeping in mind as the Knicks put a staff together. Payne, as previously noted, has a close relationship with top Knicks executive William Wesley and has other ties to the Knicks organization. He has been known to coach big men at Kentucky, including Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns. “KP is one of the best development coaches in the world,” Towns told The Athletic last year. “KP is the horse beneath the jockey driving Kentucky basketball.”
Jeff Goodman: Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne is weighing an offer to join the New York Knicks organization, source told @Stadium. Payne has strong ties to new Knicks executive William Wesley and also Leon Rose.
Knicks president Leon Rose and senior vice president William Wesley were hired primarily as a conduit to luring stars, but Stoute believes he can form a Big 3. “With having Leon in, World Wide Wes and myself, the three of us, we’re the best sort of team as it relates to being able to speak with free agents,’’ Stoute said over the weekend on the “Breakfast Club” podcast. “Our relationship with talent to bring them to New York. They haven’t had this level of talent in the last 10 years that can go out and pitch free agents and convince them why New York is great.’’
According to an NBA source familiar with the situation, Robinson lobbied to have the Knicks’ top prospects who weren’t getting enough NBA time to spend a few games — or weeks — in the G-League to gain rhythm and grow confidence. Perry rejected the notion, feeling it would be perceived as too big a demotion and felt practice time as well as being around NBA coaches was more vital, according to a source. Robinson’s counter was that during the NBA season, practice time and scrimmages are limited.
On a Zoom call, Rose faced questions for the first time from the media as he introduced Thibodeau as their head coach. “We have not set a timeline. We are taking it one day at a time. We felt Tom was that coach who can take us with development to becoming a perennial winner. That happens one step at a time,” Rose said. “At the moment we don’t know what the roster will be moving forward. We have decisions we have to make. The important thing is to instill the culture, focus on the development and take it from there.”
But Rose also has taken a slow path through this process, doing his due diligence with the candidates — even if league sources have believed many of the 11 to be simply favors for old acquaintances at CAA, getting names of agency clients out there, with some not believed to be real candidates for the head-coaching job. Even some with previous experience, such as Mike Woodson, are believed to be more in line for an assistant coaching position. Mike Miller, who has served as the team’s interim head coach, is expected to be a part of the staff no matter who gets the head job.
The Knicks made sweeping changes to their front office this year, in hopes of reversing a two-decade trend of ineptitude. They hired power agent Leon Rose from Creative Artists Agency to become team president. Rose in turn hired William "Worldwide Wes" Wesley, a noted power broker and player confidante, as a top assistant, along with respected front-office veterans Walt Perrin, Brock Aller and Frank Zanin. But their task likely just got tougher, especially when it comes to wooing marquee players. "I think it's a big black eye on the Knicks as an organization," said an agent whose firm represents multiple stars, referring to the club's silence. The agent, who is Black, added, "It will continue to be something that players look down upon, and it further explains why guys like Kevin Durant [passed on the Knicks]. You got all the resources and all the richness of the NBA, and still people don't want to associate themselves with it."
That is disconcerting not only to Knicks employees, but to a number of Black executives, players, agents and others around the league who spoke to B/R. "If you're going to have a diverse employment force, then in this situation you've got to represent them and speak out against this," said a Black team executive who has worked in the league for more than 20 years. "Otherwise, you're sending a message to them that you're ambivalent about it. Now you allow yourself to be questioned. And by the time you do come out and say it, then people doubt your sincerity." The team executive and others interviewed for this story requested anonymity to preserve their working relationship with the Knicks.
The Knicks still have another critical hire to make in the front office. Craig Robinson left the organization, a league source confirmed, to take over as the executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Robinson had been the Knicks’ VP of player development since 2017, when he was hired by former president Steve Mills.
Last week’s Knicks press release quoted new executive VP William Wesley on his “long history with and respect for Jim Dolan.’’ Sources confirm Wesley has been in the Knicks owner’s ear for 15 years, working behind the scenes. As is his custom. A Knicks coach from the Glen Grunwald era verified the influence of “World Wide Wes.” “When we were there, I was told he listened to ‘World Wide Wes’ more than he did Grunwald,” the coach told The Post.
Anthony was represented by Creative Artists Agency, and Mills was reputed to have close ties to CAA. (Wesley, according to a source, served as a chief confidant of Anthony’s during his Knicks stint.) Now CAA is officially running the Knicks with the Leon Rose-Wesley tandem. After Rose agreed to terms in February, The Post quoted a source, stating, “MSG and CAA have been in bed for years. This shouldn’t be surprising.’’
League executives believe Rose has done well in surrounding himself with a strong team of advisors. Dolan, despite the economic crisis from the pandemic, has again shown willingness to shell out money to aid Rose. “Leon doesn’t think he’s the smartest person in the room,’’ one executive said. “He’s surrounding himself with smart people.’’
Two former Knicks blasted the new front office, with Rasheed Wallace calling the hirings of Leon Rose and William Wesley “a brain fart” by the organization and Stephon Marbury labeling Wesley, in particular, a “world wide sucker.” Marbury didn’t get into specifics during his social media rant, but Wallace said the executives carry baggage into their new jobs because of their dealings as agents and won’t have the respect of players because they lack a basketball background.
There's at least one person who hates the addition of William "World Wide Wes" Wesley to the Knicks' front office. Former Knick Stephon Marbury slammed Wesley on Twitter on Thursday afternoon. "Did you really just now bring world wide sucka to the New York Knicks? And I ain't talking about a sucka like the sucka we call a sucka," Marbury said in a video posted to his Twitter account. "Really? You brought this dude here? Why? I'm a real New York Knicks fan. I've been a New York Knicks fan since I was a spit. Come on Dolan, man. You gotta be kidding me, man. You brought this dude here? Really? What's going on, man? There's gotta be an explanation. Not him! Of all people, you bring this dude here? You bring him to NYC? To New York? He don't got no credibility here! Nah."
The Knicks’ hiring of “World Wide Wes,” aka William Wesley, was universally praised on Wednesday as a forward-thinking addition by new team president Leon Rose. One former Knick, however, is against it. Stephon Marbury blasted the move, calling Wesley “world wide sucker,” in a video he posted on Instagram and wrote on Twitter that Wesley is a “kiss a–.”
Stephon Marbury: “C’mon man, c’mon. At New York Knicks, did you really just bring world wide sucker to the New York Knicks. … Really? You brought this dude here? Why? I’m a real New York Knicks fan. I’ve been a New York Knicks fan since I was a [kid]. … C’mon [Jim] Dolan man. You gotta be kidding me, man. You brought this dude here? Really? What’s going on man. There’s gotta be an explanation. Not him. Out of all people, you bring this dude here? You bring him to NYC? To New York? He ain’t got no credibility here. Nah.”
Marbury, 43, says he remains a Knicks fan, which is why he doesn’t like what he’s seeing. “When are we really going to try to win in NY,” he tweeted at the Knicks official account. “The people of NY deserve real New York people leading the way for New Yorkers. These fake kiss a$$ blow up fast cats ain’t going to cut the check other than going into BOA to deposit the check. We sick and tired!”
The New York Knicks are hiring CAA's William Wesley as executive vice president/senior adviser, sources told ESPN. Wesley has been a consultant in the coaching division of CAA for 13 years and has a long professional and personal relationship with new Knicks president Leon Rose.
Chris Iseman: Leon Rose: “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. He is one of the most well-connected and respected people in the basketball community and he will be a...
Mike Vorkunov: Knicks exec William Wesley: “My long history w/ & respect for Jim Dolan & Leon Rose, as well as the chance to be part of the NY Knicks made this an opportunity I wanted to pursue. I look forward to joining the current staff & moving the organization toward a successful future.”
Steve Popper: And the Knicks make the official announcement - adding that TJ Zanin, brother of Frank Zanin, will join the organization as a scout.
The Knicks have hired New Orleans Pelicans scout Alex Kline, a high-ranking team source told SNY. Kline, 26, has been a scout with New Orleans for the past four seasons, with a focus on college scouting. The Athletic reported that Kline will work under Knicks assistant GM Walt Perrin, who will be responsible for college scouting. Kline is well-respected by team personnel from across the league.
Marc Berman: Knicks brass still finishing up their exit interviews on video conference today, per source. Their season didn't officially end until last Thursday afternoon.
However unorthodox, Knicks president Leon Rose has “upgraded’’ his basketball operations staff, according to multiple NBA sources. Rose decided to pick up the option on GM Scott Perry for next season but surprisingly is not expected to retain Perry’s two major scouting hires from 2017 — assistant GM Gerald Madkins and pro player personnel director Harold Ellis.
Perrin and Zanin arrive with multi-year deals, while Perry’s deal is just for next season. Sources indicate that if all goes well, Perry will be in store for an extension next season. That is the case even if he may have made a mistake in bringing aboard Madkins, who has bounced around five teams in nine years.
Zanin essentially takes over for Ellis. Sources said Steve Mills was fired as president after the Kristaps Porzingis trade backfired when the Knicks were unable to use any of their cap space to sign a star player last summer. Sources have indicated Ellis is also taking the fall for that trade which included the disappointing Dennis Smith Jr. In Utah, Perrin is credited for being part of drafting five All-Stars — the latest being Donovan Mitchell. Perrin, according to a source, was instrumental in scoring an early workout with Mitchell even when it was obvious Utah would have to trade up to get him at 13.
Leon Rose continued to reshape the Knicks front office this week by adding Walt Perrin and Frank Zanin as assistant general managers, league sources said. Perrin will be in charge of college scouting and Zanin will oversee pro personnel. Here are notes on both executives...
"He's been operating at a high level with Utah for a long time," one member of an opposing team familiar with Perrin's work said. "This is a really good hire. Really good." Said someone else familiar with the scouting/executive community in the NBA: "He's a really good guy. No nonsense guy." In Utah, Perrin was most recently the VP of Player Personnel. Throughout his 19-year tenure in Utah, Perrin was regularly involved with Jazz drafts.
Zanin has been a scout with the Thunder for the past four years. Like Utah, the Thunder are respected throughout the league for their scouting on the college and pro level under Sam Presti. "If Presti hires you, it says something (about your ability)," one opposing scout said when asked about Zanin. Prior to his stint with Oklahoma City, Zanin worked closely with Billy King in Brooklyn. Zanin was an assistant GM with the Nets and elevated to acting GM after King's dismissal. He stepped down after the Nets hired Sean Marks as general manager. Zanin, who began his career with King in Philadelphia, was described by one opposing scout as a hard worker who doesn't seek the spotlight. During his tenure as acting GM, Zanin was in the spotlight for a brief time -- but not from his own actions.
Perrin’s addition has been well-received after he played a large role in helping Utah have a number of successful drafts over his nearly two decades with the organization. He has earned a reputation as a well-connected and well-liked executive with a keen approach to the draft. Perrin was not the sole voice making picks with the Jazz, but as VP of player personnel, he was an integral part of advising O’Connor and then Dennis Lindsey in a string of draft-night successes. The Jazz were not without their mistakes over the last 19 years (Trey Burke and Dante Exum are two), but the franchise drafted six players who would become All-Stars in that time.
Mike Vorkunov: The Knicks are hiring Frank Zanin as their assistant GM for pro personnel, league sources say. He's a longtime NBA exec who served as the Nets assistant GM until 2016 and has been a Thunder scout the last few years. theathletic.com/1823059/2020/0…
Steve Popper: League source confirms former Nets' assistant GM Frank Zanin is joining Leon Rose's staff - terms still being finalized - sounds like assistant GM/pro personnel. @Mike Vorkunov was first with the news.
Ian Begley: Knicks are adding Frank Zanin to their front office, league sources confirm. NYK president Leon Rose so far has added Utah’s Walt Perrin, CLE’s Brock Aller & retained Scott Perry as his GM. Zanin was last w/OKC & was an assistant GM with Brooklyn. First reported by The Athletic.
Tony Jones: The Jazz won't immediate search for a replacement for Walt Perrin, League Sources tell The Athletic. They will divide his responsibility up in house
Steve Popper: League sources confirm Knicks and Leon Rose are finishing terms with Walt Perrin, who will join the organization as assistant GM. Perrin was Utah Jazz VP of Player Personnel.
Chris Iseman: League sources confirmed the Knicks are adding Walt Perrin to the front office as assistant GM, as @Shams Charania reported. Leon Rose continues to fill out his front office, previously bringing in Brock Aller and bringing back Scott Perry.
Ian Begley: Knicks are expected to hire Jazz VP of Player Personnel Walt Perrin as assistant GM, per league sources. In addition to Perrin, Knicks president Leon Rose has added Brock Aller in a VP role and retained Scott Perry as general manager. The Athletic first reported the Perrin hire.
Charley Rosen, Jackson’s confidant/biographer and his former Albany Patroons assistant, has appeared in two episodes. He’s still worried Jackson’s failed 3 ½-year run as Knicks president has hurt his perception in New York. Rosen said Jackson should never have come out of retirement and taken the position in March 2014. “I told him not to take it because it’s crazy there,’’ Rosen said. “Jeanie [Buss] told him not to take it. If he came there, it would end their relationship 3,000 miles away.”
Leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers wasn’t easy. Brock Aller had been with the organization, at the right hand of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert in some capacity, for 15 years. Aller worked his way up, from liaison and advisor on business and basketball operations to a full-time front office role in 2013-14. First, it was senior director of strategic planning. Most recently, senior director of basketball operations.
But when Knicks president Leon Rose took over in New York, tasked with leading the perennial Eastern Conference doormat back to prominence, Aller was his first call. Rose needed a smart, forward-thinking executive, one with a knack for successful team-building, savvy salary cap management and long-term planning. Rose needed someone he could trust. Their relationship went back years because of Aller’s growing role within the Cavs while Rose ascended the ranks and became one of the league’s most powerful agents -- even representing LeBron James early in his career.
So, when that initial call came in March, Aller did what he’s always done, what led to him being New York’s primary target. He started compiling data. For more than a month, Aller talked with everyone he knew -- players, agents, former staff members, business associates -- trying to figure out whether this was the right move at the right time.
Rose will continue to evaluate the rest of the front office as he puts his imprint on the team. Several executives hired alongside Perry in 2017 are believed to have contracts that run late into this summer, league sources said, allowing him to put off a decision until then, unlike Perry, who had a trigger date coming Friday. But it is not yet known who Rose will keep, which will allow uncertainty about the future of the Knicks front office to linger. He also has to decide on a head coach.
Rose will continue to evaluate the rest of the front office as he puts his imprint on the team. Several executives hired alongside Perry in 2017 are believed to have contracts that run late into this summer, league sources said, allowing him to put off a decision until then, unlike Perry, who had a trigger date coming Friday. But it is not yet known who Rose will keep, which will allow uncertainty about the future of the Knicks front office to linger. He also has to decide on a head coach.
The Leon Rose era will begin with a familiar face as the Knicks have decided to retain Scott Perry as general manager. The Knicks confirmed that Perry will remain with a statement from team president Leon Rose. “Scott is a well-respected basketball executive who I have known for more than 20 years, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with him as we look to build a winning team in New York," Rose said.
However, Perry’s long-term future as GM still is not guaranteed with his contract up June 30. The draft is scheduled for June 25 and could remain there if the NBA cancels its season in May. Though Rose is considering keeping Perry, one NBA source told The Post, “The impression is Leon will do his due diligence.’’ An urgency to make a change, though, is lessened because of the new logistics amid the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with New York the nation’s epicenter. “The shutdown may have helped everyone — at least temporarily,’’ one NBA source connected to the Knicks said.
Cleveland Cavaliers senior director of basketball operations Brock Aller will join the New York Knicks front office, a source tells cleveland.com. The deal between Aller and the Knicks isn’t done yet. A few details still need to be worked out, including Aller’s official title. However, it’s expected to be finalized -- and announced -- by early May.
Brock Aller, a longtime fixture for Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, is close to joining president Leon Rose in the Knicks front office as vice president of strategy, according to an NBA source. Aller was financial planner/capologist with Cleveland, but a source said he’ll be “more than a capologist’’ under Rose. However, Aller is not the GM — a basketball-intensive position that remains up in the air.
Frank Isola: The Knicks are moving closer to naming Cavs executive Brock Aller as their new capologist, according to a source. @Stefan Bondy first reported last month that the club was interviewing Aller.
Marc Berman: Knicks and David Blatt will part ways as his consulting agreement has expired, The Post has learned. He leaves on good terms with new president Leon Rose. Was brought in originally by president Steve Mills, former Princeton teammate.
Ian Begley: David Blatt’s consulting agreement with the Knicks has expired, source says, so he’s no longer with the organization. Source said he left on good terms. Blatt was hired by former NYK President Steve Mills.
Steve Popper: David Blatt will not remain on with the Knicks - source confirms @Marc Berman tweet, hired by Steve Mills as a consultant to transition from coaching to front office. Consulting agreement ended.
For now, Leon Rose is proceeding as status quo with an inherited front office in following an unofficial NBA hiring/firing stoppage with the world stopped cold. According to sources, Rose is actively holding scouting meetings with his staff via conference call/video regarding the draft. “I don’t see any teams hiring or firing during this,” one NBA source said. “That’s the sense.”
Leon Rose might look to Philadelphia for his new right-hand man. According to a league source, Elton Brand has been targeted by Rose as a candidate for Knicks GM. Brand, 41, is currently the Sixers GM and is under contract next season, complicating any designs of bringing him to New York. The source said Rose wanted to see if Brand was dismissed after the playoffs.
Rose is also interested in hiring Cavaliers capologist Brock Aller for a front office position, sources told the News. A source said Rose requested and received permission to interview Aller before the coronavirus shutdown.
Whether or not the Knicks play another game this season is out of their control, subject to the veracity of a pandemic’s spread. Regardless, new team president Leon Rose will form his staff and plan for a regime that will begin in earnest in the offseason. To that end, a source told the Daily News that Brock Aller — a capologist with the Cleveland Cavaliers — is a strong candidate to join the Knicks. Aller served as a personal assistant to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert for 10 years before a promotion in 2017 to senior director of basketball operations. According to Gilbert, Aller was “instrumental” in the Cavaliers trade with the Knicks for JR Smith and Iman Shumpert in 2015. At the time, Smith was a client of Rose, the longtime agent at CAA.
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