Nuggets GM Tim Connelly respects LeBron's decision to return home

by Aaron Lopez

Growing up in Baltimore, Nuggets general manager/executive vice president of basketball operations Tim Connelly was a huge fan of Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr.

Not only was Ripken a perennial All-Star with first-ballot Hall-of-Fame talent, he was a native son who played high school in the Baltimore suburb of Aberdeen.

“I think hometown stories are great,” Connelly said. “There’s probably an additional sense of attachment to guys who are from the area.”

With that personal connection in mind, Connelly was genuinely impressed to see LeBron James return to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent earlier this month. James is an Ohio native who grew up in Akron about 40 miles south of Cleveland.

“It’s neat to see how much LeBron loves Akron and the Cleveland metro area,” Connelly said.

“You have to respect that.”

From a general manager’s perspective, Connelly had one other opinion on the move.

“I’m just happy he stayed in the East,” he said with a smile.