Tim Connelly Rumors
“I’m excited to be reunited with Michael. I’ve known him for years and our relationship predates our time in New Orleans,” stated General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly. “He knows the game as well as anybody and I have always admired his work ethic and character.”
Denver general manager Tim Connelly conducted a sit-down with D’Antoni in California on Tuesday, league sources said. D’Antoni’s vaunted running game fits into Denver’s determination that it wants to play faster in the future. Melvin Hunt, the interim coach in the wake of Brian Shaw’s firing, remains a strong contender to retain the full-time job, league sources said.
In April, after the Nuggets’ season ended, management refrained from putting a firm timetable on its search for a new coach. But now, as the calendar has turned to June, there is more urgency to get a new leader. Why? The NBA draft, which is 22 days away. “I think the deadline is we want to have a coach as we head into the draft,” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly said at the outset of the process. “It’s a pretty pivotal pick for us, and a pretty pivotal moment.” Media: Denver Post
In April, after the Nuggets’ season ended, management refrained from putting a firm timetable on its search for a new coach. But now, as the calendar has turned to June, there is more urgency to get a new leader. Why? The NBA draft, which is 22 days away. “I think the deadline is we want to have a coach as we head into the draft,” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly said at the outset of the process. “It’s a pretty pivotal pick for us, and a pretty pivotal moment.”
Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly has been itching to give his team an extreme makeover, and perhaps the easiest night of the year to make a blockbuster trade is draft night. This year’s draft is June 25. If Lawson is a member of the Nuggets on June 26, it might be only because Connelly couldn’t close a deal that makes sense. So I’m guessing Lawson will beat Tulowitzki out of town. But it also wouldn’t surprise me if both stars are gone from Denver before 2015 is history.
Current Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly has ties to Williams. Connelly was the assistant general manager with New Orleans for three seasons before being hired by the Nuggets. It is not expected, however, that Williams will be considered for the Nuggets coaching search. The Nuggets started their search in earnest last week, but now might find they have to put a bit more urgency in the process.
But that’s rarified air. And, if the Nuggets move quickly enough so there isn’t additional competition, they’re sitting in a nice position as one of just two teams — Orlando is the other — in need of a head coach. So an intense bidding war over a particular candidate is an unlikely scenario. And with one coaching search already under his belt, Connelly says he’s ready for this one in all areas. “This time we’ll certainly have the ability to be a little more pragmatic,” he said. “We have a staff in place. I know the team, I know the personnel. I know the guys that are going to work and some of the guys we probably have to think about moving on. I just think I’m more prepared and have a better overall feel for the lay of the land.”
So if money is no object — or at least not an obstacle — the Nuggets should be in good shape financially in their search for a coach, which, last week, general manager Tim Connelly said had started. “We don’t want to put any unnecessary internal time frames on it. There’s no deadline. I think the deadline is we want to have a coach as we head into the draft,” Connelly said of the June 25 event. “It’s a pretty pivotal pick for us, and a pretty pivotal moment. Not just with the draft itself and the chance to make trades, and free agency happens soon thereafter. So if we have to wait, we can wait. But we want to make sure that we talk to all of the quality candidates and pick the best guy.”
Chris Dempsey: #Nuggets GM Tim Connelly on coaching search: “We’re going to be pretty patient. Certainly Melvin is going to be one of the finalists… I think he deserves that, he’s earned that. But we’re going to talk to anybody and everybody. Candidates that could potentially help us take the next step. Now that the season’s over we’ll start making some calls, both formally and informally.” #Nuggets
“As an organization, we have all been impressed with the job Melvin has done thus far,” general manager Tim Connelly said by phone Monday. “When the season concludes, he will be one of the candidates as we begin an exhaustive search to find a head coach.”
There’s so much to like about Hunt. I remember when he first joined the Nuggets, in the fall of 2010, he got along so swimmingly with Carmelo Anthony that we joked that, of all people, this no-name assistant could be the reason Melo decided to stay in Denver. Hunt is charismatic, he’s paid his dues, he’s wicked smart, he’s humble, he has a sense of humor and he seems to be a talented motivator.
But Melvin Hunt is in the way. He keeps the Nuggets playing hard and playing to win, and he’s making the jobs of Denver executives harder — both in regard to getting a high draft pick and hiring a coach. They have to give him serious consideration, right? “As an organization, we have all been impressed with the job Melvin has done thus far,” general manager Tim Connelly said by phone Monday. “When the season concludes, he will be one of the candidates as we begin an exhaustive search to find a head coach.”
Helping matters is the Nuggets having four first-round draft picks in the next two years. Expect some of those to be used as trade assets. Two are their own (including one in 2016 that gives them the right to swap first-round picks with New York) and two are from trades in the past two months. “Certainly I think with the financial flexibility and some of the trade assets that we picked up in the way of draft picks over the last several months, I think maybe we’re in a better position now than ever,” Connelly said.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets will continue their star search. Last summer, they made a run at acquiring Kevin Love. Connelly insists he will continue to try to get that caliber of player in a Denver uniform, whether it’s through a trade, the draft or free agency. “We’d love to get a superstar,” the GM said. “We’d love to think we potentially have one on our roster, or we can get one in the draft. I think that’s the most tried-and-true model. And we’ve been pretty active trying to get ‘that guy’ in the last 18 months.”
Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly told the Post’s Benjamin Hochman that he has no plans to make a coaching change. “Brian has been dealt a very difficult hand, but we’re an organization that’s process-oriented, we don’t make emotional decisions,” said Connelly, who was at the Nuggets’ practice Sunday. He added that the Nuggets are being very aggressive looking for roster changes.
In fact, Chandler said he has been told he will not be traded. He takes that knowledge with a grain of salt. “If a deal comes along that’s a pretty good deal, you’ve got to make it of course,” Chandler said. “And some guys say they’re not going to trade you, and then they trade you. I’m not saying that (Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly) is that guy, but you never know. You can never feel too safe about anything.”
With a roster full of players coveted across the league, the Nuggets are within a maximum three-week window to take a big step forward and join the playoff hunt in earnest or start retooling the roster. “The next couple of weeks is a pivotal point in our season to see which direction we’re going to go,” said Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly. It’s been a roller-coaster ride for the Nuggets, who began the season 1-6, then went 8-2 and then slid again.
“I’m not sure Tim can do the job,” a league power broker, who has known Connelly for years, said. “He’s the nicest guy you’ll meet, but he’s out of his depths, and you saw it with the [Kenneth] Faried mess.” The mess in question refers to the odd sequence of events during the finalization of Faried’s four-year, $50 million extension completed in early October, a deal that was initially leaked by Denver, according to several sources, at five years and $60 million, only the terms of that deal didn’t conform to the current collective bargaining agreement, which stipulates a team’s “designated player” for a five-year extension must receive the maximum money. Connelly and Ben Tenzer, the Nuggets’ young director of team operations and de facto salary-cap guy, jumped the gun while the rest of the NBA, including the league office, scratched their heads at the report.
Eighteen months later, Denver is getting smoked nightly. It’s a 2-7 team with no discernible identity, redundancies all over its roster and a morose, first-time coach who has expressed frustration with the fortitude of his team. Several sources around the league, a few close to the Nuggets, say the organization is “rudderless” under the controls of a young front office, led by general manager Tim Connelly, that has neither the experience nor the savvy to survive in a league whose executive ranks are teeming with predators.
In the final analysis, the whoops factor of the episode exceeded any substantive damage, of which there was none. The parties completed the deal, and the Nuggets had protected their asset. Around the league, though, there was a collective WTF?! More than one source close to the league’s infrastructure has confirmed Faried wasn’t the only proposed transaction by Denver that violated CBA 101 basics. One rival team executive said the Nuggets called to propose a trade that was obviously unkosher under league rules, something that rarely, if ever, happens because no general manager wants to betray ignorance of such a rudimentary part of the gig. Most have the good sense to call the league to fact-check potential acquisitions.
An expected active NBA may open the door for one of those things to happen. A number of teams have multiple picks or are overstocked with young players or are disappointed with their draft position (even if it is higher than the Nuggets’) and would be willing to deal. “I don’t think things will pick up until the next week or so,” Connelly said. “But after a relatively quiet trade deadline, I think we’ll see a more active buildup to the draft. I would imagine we’ll have a lot of trades.”
So they’ll retool, and they’ll start by using the pick as a key cog in the improvement. Trading the selection, among other assets, for a veteran or moving up in the draft are the two areas of most interest to the Nuggets.