Denver Nuggets' Josh Kroenke: Tim Connelly staying to finish what he started

by Alex Labidou
Nuggets.com Staff Writer
@LabidouA

Denver Nuggets’ President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly has decided to stay in the Mile High City, despite interviewing with the Washington Wizards last Friday. Although Connelly has local ties to the Eastern Conference team, the 42-year-old decided to stay in Denver due to his commitment to finishing what he started with the Nuggets, according to Team President and Governor Josh Kroenke.

In a wide-ranging interview with Altitude Radio, Kroenke spoke about his conversations with Connelly over the past weekend that led to his decision to stay. He also revealed why he allowed the Wizards to interview Connelly and spoke about the Nuggets’ ambitions moving forward.

Here are the highlights: 

On Connelly’s decision to stay: 

He got his start at the Wizards organization and as I talked to Tim, as the situation unfolded, I just said ‘Look, it’s going to be your decision and make the best decision for your family. Because as much as I want to keep you in Denver, in an absolute manner, there are very real family considerations.’

Sometimes people lose sight of the human elements through the public aspect of it, what we do, the team, everyone is so competitive, but there are real people behind it. Tim had a real pull from his family and I think it’s a real testament to the Nuggets’ organization and Nuggets fans and the city of Denver, how much Tim has grown to love the place. [He’s] excited to see this thing through.

On why the Nuggets allowed Connelly to interview with the Wizards:

That’s part of Tim and my relationship. To say you trust someone is one thing, but to actually trust someone is a different thing. Tim and I had private conversations as part of our contract-extension talks several months ago. Just because Tim was signing a contract extension with us didn’t mean his thoughts from his childhood and different thoughts from earlier in his career would simply go away.

For Tim, I think he owed it to himself to share some of those thoughts with Mr. [Ted] Leonsis. Whether they made an offer or not, Tim felt Denver is a great place to be. He’s really proud of what we’re doing and he wants to continue to be a part of it. So, for me, it was a decision that I wanted to allow Tim to have because as a friend, he’s earned that right. The Washington Wizards were the only team that Tim would consider outside of the Denver Nuggets. I can say that with 100 percent certainty. 

On the team’s ambitions moving forward: 

I think our entire organization is hungry for more. I hope you guys had as much fun as I did and we hope to continue to build on that.

On lessons learned in the playoffs:

I’m really excited to see what lessons were picked up, especially over the last six weeks or so from some of the younger players in particular. It doesn’t get any easier, but the first time is definitely the hardest time – when you realize that it truly goes up a notch in the playoffs. If you’re really going to compete for the championship and not just talk about it, you got to be able to elevate your play.

To have two game 7s [Avs and Nuggets] in a four-day span, that might have been as much as I could handle. You come that close and there’s that pain that you have an

Hopefully that pain and experience fuels on both sides of the Avs/Nuggets coin into the summer…

I think we’re on  strong footing, even if we don’t make any major moves…I think you’re going to see a top-tier free agent or someone who is looking to switch teams, start to pay attention to the Avalanche and the Nuggets. I think we have compelling stories to tell for anybody who wants to chase a title over the next five to six years. I think that’s really exciting because I’m not sure we’ve been in that position before.


To listen to Kroenke's full interview with Altitude Sports Radio, click here

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