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Reports: Wizards granted permission to interview Nuggets' Connelly

The Washington Wizards’ search for a new president of basketball operations has reportedly lighted upon one of the architects of the Denver Nuggets’ successful resurgence.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Wizards have obtained permission to interview Nuggets president Tim Connelly. The news was also reported by Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Per The Washington Post, Connelly has long been a top target for the job by the Wizards, who have conducted second interviews for the opening with current interim Tommy Sheppard, Danny Ferry and Troy Weaver.

Gersson Rosas, now the Minnesota Timberwolves’ president of basketball operations, interviewed for the job in late April.

A Baltimore native, 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. 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.

Wizards hiring consultant Mike Forde has reportedly already talked with Connelly about the opening, The Washington Post reports, but luring him to the Wizards may prove costly. 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.

The Wizards, who have not advanced to the conference finals since 1979, are hoping a high-quality front office can overcome the franchise’s recent string of misfortune. Former All-Star point guard John Wall, whose super-max contract begins this fall, underwent Achilles surgery in February that will keep him out nearly all of 2019-20. Washington also fell from sixth to ninth in this week’s NBA Draft Lottery.

Bradley Beal was the Wizards’ bright spot in a season that saw them go 32-50, their worst mark since 2012-13. The former third overall pick averaged a career-high 25.6 points and played all 82 games in his second straight All-Star season.