In March, the New York Knicks hired Leon Rose as team president. Once one of the most powerful agents in the NBA, Rose must resuscitate a franchise that has missed the playoffs in 13 of the last 16 seasons, including seven straight.
The Knicks have nowhere to go but up, but Rasheed Wallace, who played for the franchise in 2012-13, questions whether this was the right move.
“It’s been getting worse. We all think they’re going to hit bottom, but they keep going lower and lower,” Wallace said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I’m just a little confused about it all, if you ask me. It’s one thing to have a former agent and agency coming in and giving you their input here and there, but to hire him full-time, you’re taking on a lot.”
The Knicks doubled down on their former-agent philosophy this week, hiring William Wesley – “World Wide Wes” – to serve as executive vice president and senior basketball advisor. Wesley has relationships with a lot of NBA players, which could be good a thing or a bad thing.
“Unfortunately, [James] Dolan has taken on their baggage,” Wallace said. “Whoever they had beef with or problems with, now it’s going to come up and affect them now that they’ve got those executive positions with the Knicks. They might not get certain players because there could be other agents that could be mad with Leon Rose for trying to do this or trying to do that while he was the agent. So it’s going to be interesting, man. My thought: more power to him. I was with him for a while, but this just is a brain fart right here.”
Wallace likes Wesley as a person but doesn’t know if this is the right role for him.
“Wes is my guy. I’m not talking bad about him in any way,” Wallace said. “But for what’s needed with them, you got to have those basketball minds in there, and who are people going to trust? People are going to trust those who walk that path. When guys are sitting up here, at some point, it’s going to blow over. That’s how it always is.”
Wallace was joined by former NBA teammate and current Let’s Get Technical podcast co-host Bonzi Wells. As it turns out, Wallace and Wells did not respect one of their assistant coaches in Portland because of his professional background.
“This man better not have opened his mouth to say anything related to basketball because he was never a basketball coach. He didn’t play basketball,” Wallace said. “So it’s like we didn’t respect what he said. Now you’re looking at that same situation [with the Knicks]. A lot of those younger guys, they’re like, ‘Man, who are these guys?’ They know them from being on the street or they might have been in their final few picks as far as dealing with an agency or something, but now you’re talking about a whole different monster now.”
Wallace did say that he enjoyed playing for Dolan.
“Yeah, I had no beef with him, man,” Wallace said. “To me, I felt Dolan was down to earth. With playing in the NBA for so long, playing for so many billionaire owners . . . I got to say: Dolan would be right down there with us. He would come talk to us. [He] was the same way [former Trail Blazers owner] Paul Allen was. He gets involved with his players. He knows the guys’ kids names and things like that.”
Unfortunately for Dolan, that personal attention hasn’t translated to championships.
“I can blame him up to a certain degree, but my thing is he’s not the one out there playing, so I can’t put all of it on him,” Wallace said. “I’m going to put a majority of it, though. Don’t get me wrong. I’m going to put the majority of the Knicks’ moves on him, but I can’t put all of it on him because he’s not out there playing.”