Mysterious William Wesley to go mainstream

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William Wesley is to the NBA what the Smoking Man was to the X-files — a shadowy figure who seemed to control everything.

He has been a close confidant of LeBron James. He has Michael Jordan on speed dial. He is very tight with John Calipari. He was the guy who ran out and grabbed Ron Artest and pulled him back during the Malice in the Palace back in 2004.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg with the man called World Wide Wes. He knows everybody and has sway with everyone from AAU coaches to many of the top players in the NBA. He has been seen at NBA games hanging with Jay Z and Nike’s Phil Knight.

But what does he do? Officially, he is a mortgage broker. That’s what is on the IRS form. Or at least was. Seems World Wide Wes is about to go mainstream.

According to three sources with knowledge of the situation, Wesley, 45, has been in conversations for several months with CAA, the multinational conglomerate whose expansive client list includes two of the basketball figures who are most often linked to Wesley, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Kentucky coach John Calipari. One source with direct knowledge of the conversations indicated that the deal was “imminent” and would probably be signed in early June.

Wesley declined to comment for this story when reached by telephone Friday afternoon.

Wesley will focus mainly on representing NBA coaches but will also represent some college coaches as well. His decision to become an agent marks an uncharacteristic shift into a public role for a man who has long been content to operate behind the scenes. His profile has burgeoned in recent years as multiple media outlets have chronicled his story, connecting the dots between the young players he befriends and coaches with whom he is known to be particularly close. Wesley is also close friends with James’s agent, Leon Rose…

What does all that mean? Who knows, nobody really knows how Wesley operates so it’s tough to speculate how this changes things. Except that he’ll now have a business card.

And it may make him even more powerful.

Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 16:  Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 16, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.

He might get back far sooner than that.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star ‎break.

Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.

The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

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Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.

Kevin Durant misses dunk so hard, ball flies past halfcourt (video)

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Kevin Durant played great in the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night, but – perhaps fueled by excess emotion – he missed this incredibly emphatic dunk attempt.

Later, Russell Westbrook showed his former teammate how to do it (sparking their apparent conversation):

James Harden outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo as they produce fantastic highlight video

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James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo met in a battle of two of the NBA’s best point guards. (Still weird to say.) The final lines:

  • Harden: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks
  • Antetokounmpo: 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks

The winner? Harden and the Rockets, who topped the Bucks, 111-92.

But the real winner? Anyone who gets to watch this highlight video. It just gets better as it goes.