Knicks hire CAA’s William Wesley to advisory role

From Woj:

The New York Knicks have hired CAA’s William Wesley as executive vice president/senior basketball adviser, the team announced Wednesday.

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.

Rose and Wesley worked together at CAA and have a history back to their starts in New Jersey.

“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.”

Known as World Wide Wes in basketball circles, Wesley is considered one of the great connectors and relationship builders in the sport. Wesley joins a front office that includes Rose, general manager Scott Perry and chief strategist Brock Aller.

Rose said in a statement that Wesley 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.”

This had been rumored at the time that Rose was hired, but was premature at the time since Wesley was under contract with CAA at the time.

It’s probably a meaningless hire either way. He has worked with Rose for years, so it makes sense Rose would bring a guy with him.

I don’t think it means that the Knicks will starfuck any more than they were already going to starfuck (which could be a lot no matter what).

Knicks Realize They Are Interviewing Too Many Good Head Coaching Candidates, Add Jason Kidd and Mike Brown to the Mix

As noted, the Knicks had put together a compelling list of head coaching candidates, where only Thibs and Mike Woodson were typical retread candidates. Their list of candidates was really intriguing and taken by many, including me, as a good sign that Leon Rose might actually know what he’s doing.

So the Knicks have realized that that list wasn’t Knicksy enough and have now added Jason Kidd and Mike Brown to the list.

What’s funny is that if you’ve foolishly latched on to some silly “Thibs must be a good coach! Just look at his career winning percentage!” argument, then you’d certainly have to say that Mike Brown is even more impressive, as he has an even higher career winning percentage than Thibs (and he took a second team to the playoffs and won a playoff series, which is more than Thibs has done). And they both have Coach of the Year awards. But luckily, most of us get how stupid “Just look at his winning percentage!” sounds, or else we’d be pushing for Tyronn Lue, who also has a higher winning percentage than Thibs and is the only one of the three coaches (Thibs, Brown and Lue) to have won a title as a coach.

The rumor with Kidd is that the Knicks think that he would help them with Giannis. That sure sounds like one of the dumbest, Knicksy thing, huh?

I’m going to assume/hope that these two new additions to the now ten-person interview list don’t mean much, but hey, ya never know. Sources: Kyrie Irving plays key role in Friday call with players

From Woj:

When the National Basketball Players Association conducted a conference call and vote on restarting the season a week ago, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving was an active participant — although his questions were of a mundane nature.

Sources say Irving asked, as an injured player, if he would count among the Nets’ allotted 35 people should he want to join the Orlando, Florida, bubble. Could he sit in the stands to cheer on his teammates? Use a sauna for his rehab?

He had a question about NBA sponsors on campus, and whether they would be supplying players with products. A union official asked him for an example, and Irving mentioned a popular adult beverage — before insisting that he had indeed simply shared an example — and wondered what food might be provided to players under league partnerships.

All in all, his inquiries weren’t of weighty consequence.

There were two dozen-plus team representatives and several more executive committee members on the call, and Irving’s stature as one of the NBPA’s six elected vice presidents, in addition to his credentials as an NBA champion and All-Star Game MVP, elevated him among those peers voting on the call. The final tally: 28-0.

Looking back, the call itself was much less a discussion on the merits of restarting the season, and much more a Q&A with NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and president Chris Paul on the mechanics and rules expected to govern teams, players and the bubble environment, sources said.

So, yes, it surprised several of his NBPA colleagues that Irving — lost for the season with shoulder surgery in March — was simultaneously lending his voice to a far different discussion with rank-and-file union members on upending the league’s plans for a 22-team restart at Disney World in Orlando, sources said.

On a call that included nearly 100 players and several stars on Friday night, Irving made an impassioned plea for players to make a stand and sit out the season’s resumption in Orlando, sources said. Around 90 minutes in length, the call included several players suggesting they’d be willing to sit out the season — and numerous more discussing social issues, league economics and, ultimately, a sense that they needed to be united in a decision.

Where it leads the NBA now remains unclear. Even after the call, there was still a belief within the league that the NBA would have the players’ support it needed to resume the season, but no one could be as sure as they seemed to be a mere week ago.

What a fascinating turn of events. With Lebron pushing players to support re-opening, I would bet on that side ultimately winning, but it’s interesting to see what will happen here. Knicks’ parent company Madison Square Garden issues statement weeks after George Floyd’s killing

From Malika Andrews:

Eight days after Knicks owner James Dolan sent an email to the staff explaining why the Madison Square Garden Co. would not publicly comment on the outrage following George Floyd’s death, the company has issued a statement.

On Tuesday, the Knicks team account tweeted a statement from the Madison Square Garden sports and entertainment companies, saying “Every one of us has a role to play in creating a more just and equal society, where there is no racism, bigotry, violence or hate. We stand with all who act for positive change.”

The statement comes the same day as Floyd’s funeral in Houston. Floyd, who was black, was killed by a white police officer on May 25. Since then, protests have erupted across the country and several government officials have made commitments to adjust local laws. In New York, mayor Bill de Blasio said he will reallocate some New York Police Department funding to social and youth services.


To wait this long and for that to be their statement is so hilariously bad. Does interim head coach Mike Miller have a future with the Knicks?

Interesting stuff from Ian Begley:

After taking over for David Fizdale, interim head coach Mike MIller coached the Knicks to a 17-27 record before their season was paused in mid-March and is now over. They were still under the .500 mark with Miller, but the team showed considerable improvement.

But now that Leon Rose is in control, it’s likely that he’ll look to bring in “his guy” to be the team’s head coach, whether that’s Tom Thibodeau or someone else.

So where does that leave Miller?

In response to a Knicks mailbag question, SNY’s Ian Begley explains that Miller is still expected to interview for the head coaching job, and even if he doesn’t land it, there are some in the organization who would like to see Miller stay with the team, either as an assistant coach or in a different front office role.

The video was a follow-up to an earlier mailbag where Begley disagreed with a reader who suggested hiring Miller just so that they could tank next season ahead of the much better 2021 Draft Class and then hire their coach of the future. Begley thinks that that wouldn’t work very well, as he thinks that the players wouldn’t respect a coach that they knew was a lame duck coach. However, I think he felt that he made it seem like Miller wasn’t a serious candidate for the job, so he issued this video to clarify.

So far, only Thibs, Atkinson, Miller and Mike Woodson have been announced as being interviewed for the Knicks coaching gig, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a fifth candidate was looked at, as well. Sources: NBA to approve plan for 22-team return with eight regular-season games

From Woj (although, apparently Shams had the scoop first):

The NBA’s board of governors intends to approve a league proposal on a 22-team format to restart the season in Orlando, Florida, sources told ESPN.

The conference call and vote is set for 12:30 p.m. ET Thursday, sources said.

Commissioner Adam Silver and the league’s advisory/finance committee have shared the broad details of a plan with teams to play at the Walt Disney World Resort, sources said. The plan includes 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams, eight regular-season games, a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed, and playoffs, sources said.

The top 16 teams in the Eastern and Western conferences will be joined by teams currently within six games of eighth place in the two conferences — New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio, Sacramento, Phoenix and Washington, sources said.

The play-in tournament will include the No. 8 and No. 9 teams — if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth, sources said. In that case, the No. 8 seed enters a double-elimination tournament and the No. 9 seed a single-elimination tournament, sources said.

Teams will begin training at team sites in July and advance to full training camps in Orlando later that month, sources said.

Among the eight teams left out of the Orlando format, several are disappointed and concerned about how a nine-month window between NBA games affects their teams competitively and financially, sources said.

What a freaking weird ass way of handling this, no? So, they’re going to have regular season games, but the bottom eight teams in the league won’t be participating? So how are they regular season games if you’ve eliminated eight teams? I mean, I get the idea, which is that the league can sell more marquee match-ups in those final eight regular season games to help hype up the playoffs (while getting the playoff performers into shape), but it is still weird to see eight teams not participating while a “regular season” goes on for well over a week!

Obviously, we all know the real reason behind this, which is to do whatever they can do to possibly get Zion Williamson into the playoffs. And honestly, I can’t begrudge them about that. This set-up is not a terrible idea in general (the idea of a play-in game to give the teams like Portland and San Antonio a chance so that Dame Lillard will actually show up), but I just wish the other eight teams got to participate.

This, of course, also means that, hilariously enough, the Knicks did, in fact, lock in the #6 spot in the lottery by virtue of winning the final game of the season. Knicks gotta Knicks. One more #8 pick for the road!

Anyhow, this should be fun to watch. Heck, ANY sports would be fun to watch right now.

Dolan Clarifies His Racist Stance on Racism

So James Dolan sent an email to his MSG employees to clarify his position on racism:

“I know how important this topic is to so many, and I do not want there to be any confusion about where I as an individual, or we as a company stand. So let me be clear: we vehemently condemn and reject racism against anyone, period.”

OK that’s a good start for Mr. Dolan. You might ask as a company, what is MSG doing to combat racism? Well:

“My point yesterday was about actions, and the importance of living your values,” Dolan’s Tuesday email continued. “At Madison Square Garden, we have worked hard to build an environment of inclusion and mutual respect and those are the values we try to live every day.

“Racism is born of ignorance and it’s up to each of us to understand the person working beside you is your equal without regard to color, or any of the other qualities that make us diverse. And any injustice to one person is an injustice to everyone.

“This is how we at MSG fight racism. We start with ourselves, and through our actions, we define who we are. That is how we can be an example to the wider world. That was the point of my message yesterday.

“I am proud of the environment you have created here. I know that this is a difficult time, and that we will always need to communicate with one another on hard issues. I will continue to do as much as I can to do as much as I can to help make our community even better. I know you will also.”

No. That’s not how you fight racism. That’s not at all how you fight racism. Dolan clears the lowest bar of anti-racism here with “the person working beside you is your equal without regard to color.” Sure I guess that’s the basic definition of racism so — hooray? From a historical context he’s met the 19th century bar for being woke.

“And any injustice to one person is an injustice to everyone.” Sure thing, but today we’re specifically talking about injustices to people of color. I understand that from some perspectives you could argue that he’s taking a stronger stance on racism, not limiting it to one type. But on the other hand, he’s specifically ignoring the message that black people bare the brunt of legal injustices — from citizens calling 911 on them for normal activities (jogging, being at the gym, etc.), to their unequal treatment by the law including police, prosecutors, judges, and juries. Of course you could add economic racism, with regards to schools, careers, upward mobility, red lining, bank loans, etc. All of this gets lost when you change the mantra from race specific to all of humanity.

Let’s clarify this point with an example. Imagine for a second that you have a family member with (God forbid) larynx cancer. So you decide to raise some money to bring awareness to larynx cancer. After some initial success, you go to your next potential donor and they remark “why are you only raising money for larynx cancer? Don’t we want to defeat all cancer? And why stop at cancer? You should tackle all illnesses!”

Strictly speaking the donor has a point. Raising money to defeat all illness is a much stronger goal. But by taking the stronger stance, your message has gotten diluted. If you raise money for all cancer or all illnesses, little to no money will be used for larynx cancer, because there are more popular things to use that money on. And now larynx cancer is again an afterthought, and the message you’re trying to convey is lost.

That’s exactly what Dolan is doing here. He’s obscuring the message that people of color are being oppressed. He’s lumping in the problems of the African American community with everyone else, so that the problems affecting black people are not as important as the ones we all suffer. People who generalize the message, taking the message from one group and applying it to the whole, are in essence diverting the original ideals and goals. Which means it is in opposition to that movement.

And Dolan continues: “This is how we at MSG fight racism. We start with ourselves, and through our actions, we define who we are.” The underlying theme is that racism can solved by everyone’s personal reflection, ignoring that there is a problem that needs to be tackled from a communal sense.

Now if you’re white, read that last line again, but this time imagine you’re not white. Imagine you’re a black person who has suffered numerous acts of racism in your lifetime. Does his solution seem to fix any of those racist incidents? “This is how we at MSG fight racism. We start with ourselves, and through our actions, we define who we are.”

By starting with an inner journey, could you stop the security guard from following you around in that store? By looking at yourself in the mirror, could you have prevented those taxis from speeding past you when you needed one? Would some self reflection have fixed that interaction with the person in your neighborhood who called the cops on you and your friends who were just hanging out in front of your house? Did the innocent victims of racist police brutality just fail to find their inner self?

People of color know that racism doesn’t get solved by people of color. They know they’re not at fault when people look at their darker skin and make nefarious assumptions. So how do Dolan’s words help them?

This begs the question — who is Dolan’s audience for this line? Surely it’s not black people. So then who? And why? Is it for white people to assuage their culpability? Is it so he can look in the mirror and say he has hired black people to prominent positions and declare he’s not a racist to himself by his own meager definition and not have to feel guilty about what is happening?

By failing to mention systematic racism directly and failing to take in to account the perspective of people of color, Dolan’s attempts at being woke instead reveals his racist convictions. Dolan doesn’t have to say anything blatantly racist, it’s clear from the subtext and the parts he omitted to specifically mention. For any person, these are disagreeable beliefs. But for an owner in a sport where 75% of the players are black, it’s straight up bad for business.

As You Would Expect, James Dolan Has a Terrible Take on George Floyd

Pablo Torre posted a leaked e-mail from Dolan to folks in the Knicks organization explaining why Dolan won’t be making an official statement about George Floyd (28 other NBA teams have, with the Spurs being the only other team not to make a statement).

It’s not gassing a bunch of peaceful protesters so that you could clear out the area in front of a church for a photo opportunity bad, but nor is it good.