One reason many Knicks fans were dismayed at the hiring of Leon Rose and William “World Wide Wes” Wesley to run the front office was that the pair had long been rumored as having a strong voice at MSG during the past decade. If Rose and Wesley had been secretly running the show while working as agents for CAA, how much would really change with the Knicks now that their titles were more official?
While we still don’t know all the details of Wesley and Rose’s influence in the past, a disturbing story emerged Sunday from Marc Berman of The Post. Apparently, Wesley was responsible for the firing of GM Glen Grunwald following the 2012-13 season, a.k.a. the last time the Knicks made the playoffs:
The Post has learned Wesley was a driving force behind Dolan moving on from Grunwald after a 54-28 season four days before the 2013 training camp. Wesley recommended bringing back Steve Mills, citing stronger connections.
Grunwald did a fine job as GM, strengthening the roster around Carmelo Anthony with savvy veterans and three-point shooters. The rumor at the time (which still might be true) was that Grunwald was against the Knicks’ disastrous efforts to trade for CAA client Andrea Bargnani in the summer of 2013, and he was replaced by Mills soon after. Berman doesn’t mention the Bargs trade, but he does confirm that Wesley pushed for Grunwald to be replaced by Mills, who had zero experience in basketball operations at the time.
Long story short, we saw how Mills’ “stronger connections” would help the franchise over the next seven years. Mills was fired midway through the 2019-2020 season and replace with Rose, who brought Wesley aboard in an official capacity.
So does this mean the Rose/Wesley partnership is doomed to fail? Not necessarily. Rose has brought on some quality basketball minds since taking the job. Here’s hoping he and Wesley have learned from pass mistakes, and trust those experts.