If we are to believe the mythical Keyser Soze-like figure that is William “Wes” Wesley (aka World Wide Wes) is really the guiding force behind LeBron James, then there is a good chance the King will soon become a Chicago Bull.
According to Yahoo Sports reports, James is favoring signing with the Bulls above all other teams. While everything related to James and his offseason moves has to be taken with a grain of salt at this point, there is no denying a lot of conspiracy theories are sounding mighty legitimate.
Case in point: The “Tom Thibodeau” theory.
Thibodeau, the mastermind behind the Boston Celtics defense that destroyed the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008 -- and has kept them a dominant force ever since -- was hired as the new coach of the Chicago Bulls last week.
For as long as he’s been searching for a head coaching vacancy to fill, Thibodeau has said that he was not interested in hiring an agent. Then, in a surprising decision, he signed with William Wesley’s CAA group. Almost instantly, the Chicago Bulls, like sharks catching the scent of blood in the water, pushed for his services.
The same Bulls who refused to even interview Thibodeau in the weeks prior to his hire, for some strange reason, hopped on airplane and flew to meet with him on the eve of the first game of the NBA Finals. Coincidentally, the man who could not get offers from the Sacramento Kings, Detroit Pistons or Minnesota Timberwolves, became a hot commodity for the Bulls.
Before the Lakers-Celtics could even have their second game of the series, Thibodeau got a three-year contract to coach the Bulls.
Murmurs around the league suggest that Bulls general manager Gar Forman wasn’t even particularly high on the current Celtics assistant coach.
So why the mad scramble to hire him, then?
It’s been suggested by Yahoo Sports that everything happening involving James at this point, is happening on an owners-only level. Bulls’ owner Jerry Reinsdorf was the guiding force behind his team’s last-second decision to hire Thibodeau. Further, it was also rumored that the reason that Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert parted ways with former GM Danny Ferry was because he wanted more input everything involved. After all, Gilbert is the same man who, prior to Ferry’s hire, was known to pass notes across the bench for substitutions that he wanted Cavalier coach Paul Silas to make.
Many wondered whether the decision to fire coach Mike Brown and force the resignation of Ferry was a decision made to appease James, or to fit with the structural design that Gilbert had for his franchise.
A source close to the situation that spoke with Yahoo Sports had this to say regarding James’ input throughout:
“LeBron never had to come out and say that he wanted Brown and Ferry gone,” one front-office executive familiar with the Cavs’ dynamic said. “But the anti-Brown and anti-Ferry sentiment from LeBron’s crowd was loud and clear to Dan Gilbert. He knew where LeBron stood.”
Another source familiar with the situation had this to say:
“Danny’s been miserable for the past two years,” a friend of his told Yahoo Sports. “Even if they kept LeBron, do you still lose for winning there anyway?”
At this point, the Cavaliers will reportedly do pretty much anything that James asks of them. In fact, the recent promotion of new GM Chris Grant merely reinforces that theory. His responsibility is to be the Underboss to Gilbert’s Godfather, he will simply carry out his boss’ orders.
Of course, this is all moot if what World Wide Wes says is true, and James is favoring the Bulls. It would make sense. After all, why would James’ want to go to a rudderless, aimless Cavaliers team with a questionable head coach and even more questionable players when he can sign with a young talented squad in a bigger media market?
Regardless of what happens with James this summer, his free agency has served to uncover the magical illuminati-like legend that is World Wide Wes.
Wesley, who many regard as the most powerful person in the NBA is recognized by one and all the greatest connector of players, coaches, GMs, agents, and celebrities in sports. A 2008 True Hoops article described him best:
“Need tickets to a Jay-Z concert, a new sneaker deal or the phone number of a general manager, he's your man. There's a reason we call him Uncle Wes.”
Wesley’s secretive and influential role on basketball has made him a very interesting figure in the sports world. Of course, like all powerful men, he has had his share of detractors. The same True Hoops article also included this bit:
"Because he has the ear of every player, coach, GM and sneaker company, a lot of people around basketball like to hate on Wes. Agents worry that he's going to steal their clients and steer them to one of his favorite agents. They think he's a glorified runner, a dude who agents send around to befriend players, get them into clubs and eventually get them to sign a contract. It's a shady business. But Wes is not one of those guys. Wes isn't running for anyone. I'm sure he's got his ways to make money, but he's interested only in setting up deals and making sure the people around you are looking out for you."
While the extent of Wesley’s influence over James can be debated, the suspiciousness of Thibodeau’s hire cannot. It was an impulse hire of the biggest kind, and something had to bring it on. When James finally signs with whatever team he decides to sign with, many will find themselves playing Six Degrees of Separation, minus Kevin Bacon, plus World Wide Wes.