Reports: Connelly opts to stay with Nuggets
Tim Connelly will apparently be back where he was last season: serving as president of basketball operations for the Denver Nuggets.
Connelly had interviewed for the Washington Wizards’ president of basketball operations vacancy, but has reportedly decided to stay with the Nuggets, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and NBCSportsWashington.com’s Chris Miller. Connelly played a significant role in Denver’s post-Carmelo Anthony rebuild, which included the drafting of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray as well as signing Paul Millsap in free agency.
— Chris Miller 🎥🎙🏀 (@cmillsnbcs) May 20, 2019
Per Wojnarowski, Nuggets team president Josh Kroenke made an aggressive case to keep Connelly once the Wizards extended him an offer over the weekend. With Connelly out of the mix in D.C., the Wizards are expected to turn back to their other finalists for the job — the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Troy Weaver, former Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers GM Danny Ferry and Wizards interim GM Tommy Sheppard.
For the past four seasons, Connelly has been his role and oversaw Denver’s steady rise in the Western Conference. The Nuggets went 30-52 in 2014, but rose to 54 wins this season and reached Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals. Denver has dramatically improved on defense over the past two seasons, going from 27th in points allowed (111.2) in the 2015-16 season to sixth (106.7) in 2018-19.
A Baltimore native, Connelly broke into the NBA as an intern with the Wizards in 1996 and rose to video coordinator, scout and personnel director before becoming the assistant GM in New Orleans in 2010. His wife is from Washington, D.C., and the couple’s extended family resides in the region, writes Wojnarowski.
Last week, Wizards hiring consultant Mike Forde has reportedly already talked with Connelly about the opening, The Washington Post reports. However, luring him to the Wizards was thought to be a costly exercise. According to The Washington Post, a person close to Connelly speculates he would not leave the Nuggets for a deal lower than $4 million annually for five years.