NBA rumors: Tim Connelly officially named Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations

The Minnesota Timberwolves today named Tim Connelly as the team’s President of Basketball Operations. Connelly will oversee and assume responsibility for all decisions made within the Timberwolves basketball operations department.

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Tim Connelly, Denver’s president of basketball operations since 2013, is leaving to take the same position in Minnesota, a source told The Denver Post. The Timberwolves offered him five years and $40 million, plus equity, another source said, who added the deal more than doubles what he was making with the Nuggets. The Nuggets countered but there was still a significant gap between the two offers, a source said.
The decision to leave was particularly difficult for Connelly considering how close the Nuggets are to title contention and the deep relationships he’s established inside the organization with players and coach Michael Malone. Under Connelly’s watch, the Nuggets have reached the second round of the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, which had only been done once since 1994. Connelly, according to multiple sources, wasn’t eager to leave Denver and wasn’t searching for a new organization to help develop.
Darren Wolfson: A current pres. of bball operations who knows new #Timberwolves boss Tim Connelly well: "One of the greatest folks you would ever meet." Tim has kids that are 7 & 6, is married, big family guy. His brothers Joe, Pat, Dan, & Kevin all work/have worked in hoops. Pat VP w/ Bulls.
Sources: Denver Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth is now expected to assume lead basketball operations role for the franchise. There is significant belief in Booth inside the organization, and the former NBA veteran is well-respected as a rising executive across league.
Nuggets president Tim Connelly is heading to Minnesota this weekend as the next step in the Timberwolves’ recruitment of him, a league source confirmed to The Denver Post. Connelly, who’s overseen the Nuggets since 2013, is planning to meet with Wolves owner Glen Taylor. ESPN first reported the development. With a stable organization, a reigning two-time MVP and a place where his family is comfortable, Connelly has no reason to leave the Nuggets. The only X-factor? Compensation. It’s believed the Timberwolves’ offer is more than double his current salary. Minnesota’s interest didn’t come out of nowhere. In fact, it was discussed when Connelly, team governor Josh Kroenke and coach Michael Malone all went to Serbia to surprise Nikola Jokic with his MVP trophy. News of Minnesota’s interest in poaching Connelly from Denver got out on Wednesday. Publicly, it’s been more than 48 hours since Denver’s ownership has had a chance to counter or ensure Connelly doesn’t even listen to Minnesota’s proposal. Privately, they’ve had far longer than that.
Denver Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly is traveling to meet with Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor this weekend in the next step in the team's pursuit to hire Connelly and make him one of the NBA's highest-compensated executives, sources told ESPN. Connelly has discussed the job extensively with Timberwolves minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez in the past week, and meeting with Taylor is next in the process, sources said.
Chris Hine: Connelly and Timberwolves inching closer to a deal. Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez have had significant influence over the process, but Glen Taylor as current controlling owner still has the final sign off on any deal.
Mike Singer: News came out Wednesday night tying Tim to Minnesota. It didn’t come out of nowhere. There’d been interest for a while, & it was discussed while group was in Serbia. The #Nuggets & the Kroenkes have had ample time to address and/or counter. It doesn’t look like they’re going to.
Michael Singer: Not entirely surprising, but #Nuggets president Tim Connelly's been radio silent with a lot of people close to him. I strongly believe he doesn't want to leave Denver, and I also think he'd stay if the Kroenkes could make him a competitive offer.
Nuggets governor Josh Kroenke did not respond to requests for comment on the situation. Connelly, according to sources, is in an option year of his contract. His tenure in Denver began in 2013 after his predecessor, Ujiri, left for a more lucrative offer from the Raptors.
The Timberwolves identified a list of four big-name GMs — Oklahoma City’s Sam Presti, Golden State’s Bob Myers, Toronto’s Masai Ujiri and Connelly — to fill their vacancy, according to a person with intimate knowledge of discussions. And the Nuggets’ long-time president was deemed the most “gettable,” from a financial standpoint, according to another source. Connelly, according to sources, is in an option year of his contract.
Ryan Blackburn: There's a lot to unpack with the Tim Connelly report, and as surprising as it is, there have been some signs. Notably, Calvin Booth, Denver' current general manager (under Connelly at POBO) spoke to media at Denver's post-season press conference a couple weeks ago.
The Timberwolves are in serious talks with Denver Nuggets president Tim Connelly about the franchise’s vacant President of Basketball Operations role, sources tell The Athletic. The Timberwolves recently requested permission from the Nuggets to speak with Connelly, and the sides have moved beyond exploratory conversations, sources said. There have been no agreements reached yet, and nothing appears imminent, sources said.
Connelly has emerged as a serious target for the Timberwolves and marks the first known external candidate for the organization’s lead basketball department position. Sachin Gupta, the Timberwolves’ executive vice president, remains a significant part of the organization’s long-term vision and is a candidate to continue overseeing basketball operations, sources said.
Timberwolves majority owner Glen Taylor said Gupta would be evaluated after the season to determine if they would go forward with him or look elsewhere. The Wolves have not ruled out the possibility that Gupta will remain in charge, sources said. But the talks with Connelly represent a real consideration of hiring someone above Gupta.
Donatas Urbonas: The Denver Nuggets have promoted Tomas Balcetis to Assistant General Manager, sources confirmed. Balcetis, 34, joined the Nuggets in 2013.
Mike Singer: League source confirmed this is the plan with Booth, however, due to the hiatus, it’s unclear when the organization will make an official announcement.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Bulls will start calling for permission on hiring the GM to work with Karnisovas and those interviews will start in short order, per sources. Booth is a serious candidate for promotion to replace Karnisovas as GM in Denver.
In the wake of Karnisovas’ departure, part of the delay in announcing it is because there remains the possibility that some of Denver’s staffers could go with him to Chicago, a league source says. There’s not a uniform approach across the entire NBA, but the Nuggets believe heavily in allowing executives to further their careers if it means a significant upgrade in role or title.
In following the team’s organizational ethos, Nuggets assistant GM Calvin Booth may well be the likely successor. The 10-year NBA veteran was a finalist to run the Minnesota Timberwolves’ basketball operations department last April, and similar to Karnisovas’ rise, a promotion for Booth in Denver would be the next logical step.
KC Johnson: Confirming that Bulls are negotiating a deal to make Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas their next head of basketball operations, per source. 1st with news was @wojespn. As previously reported, this hire will work to build out organizational infrastructure, including a GM.
Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas has made a strong impression on the Chicago Bulls and emerged as a focus of the franchise's process to hire a new executive vice president of basketball operations, sources told ESPN. Conversations with Karnisovas and Bulls officials are continuing Wednesday, sources said.
KC Johnson: Bulls have interviewed Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas for lead executive position, per sources. As previously reported, Bulls hope to have process finalized sooner than later.
Michael Singer: Had good chat w/ Sue Bird at last night’s #Nuggets home opener. She won’t be with the team this year as she tours with USA Basketball ahead of next year’s Olympics. She said last year’s experience in front office was fantastic and she’d love to work with them in the future.
“Definitely we’re banking on our continuity,” Denver’s GM Arturas Karnisovas told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on “The Woj Pod” released Sunday. “A lot of teams that made changes and added huge pieces and stars, they’re still dealing in hypotheticals. We’ve watched this group show us last year, take us to a 54-28 season, having the best home record, 34-7, so this group is done and they’re still the third youngest group in the league.”’s John Schuhmann compiled data on every team’s “continuity ranking” and the Nuggets finished No. 1. They’ll have 12 players returning from their roster last season, the most of any team in the league. Expect to hear the continuity refrain a lot this season. Other highlights from Karnisovas’ conversation with Woj: The Nuggets watched extensive film of Marc Gasol before drafting Nikola Jokic. They tried projecting whether Jokic’s athleticism would hinder his ability to play in the NBA.
Josh Kroenke 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.
Connelly decided to finish what he started in Denver: a team with one of the youngest rosters in the league and the second-best record in the Western Conference and an all-star in Nikola Jokic. Connelly also wished to continue his working relationship with Nuggets team president and governor Josh Kroenke, with whom he was in “constant communication” via text message and phone calls all weekend, according to a person familiar with Denver’s side.
While they have yet to formally agree to a new contract, Kroenke told Connelly that he was “willing to do what it takes to keep you,” said a person with details of the communication. If Connelly had left, the Nuggets were planning to turn over the franchise to General Manager Artūras Karnišovas and felt confident doing so, but they are “thrilled” and “breathing a sigh of relief” that it didn’t come to that, according to a person who shared details of Denver’s thinking.
Tim Connelly will not take over as the Washington Wizards’ president of basketball operations, as many league insiders had expected. He will instead remain with the Denver Nuggets, according to a person with knowledge of his thinking. Connelly was in Washington on Friday to meet with majority owner Ted Leonsis. As the president of the Nuggets’ basketball operations, Connelly did not want to formally interview. He did not visit Capital One Arena or the team’s practice facility in Southeast Washington, several people with knowledge of the meeting said. Connelly instead discussed the Wizards’ job at Leonsis’s residence.
During that session, Leonsis did not extend a contract offer, according to three people with an understanding of the situation. The Wizards then made an offer on Sunday, terms of which were not immediately known. Connelly turned it down.
Connelly never wanted to formally interview for the Wizards job, but the fact that he’s meeting with them suggests serious consideration by the franchise. Should Connelly leave, the sentiment within the organization is that Karnisovas would be more than capable of handling day-to-day duties.
Shams Charania: Sources with @David Aldridge @fredkatz: The Washington Wizards are offering their head front-office job to Denver Nuggets president Tim Connelly. Connelly toured Wizards' practice facility today in meeting.
Since shortly after Grunfeld's exit, numerous sources have told NBC Sports Washington they believe the reason for the owner's methodical approach involves Denver president of basketball operations Tim Connelly. Connelly is considered a strong if not leading candidate for the Wizards' opening. However, Connelly wasn't expected to fully explore a move until the Nuggets' playoff run ended.
Candace Buckner: This DEN-POR ending is significant for #Wizards fans... League folks love scuttlebutt & whether it’s true or not, it’s widely believed in that circle that Washington will officially pursue Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly once his team’s season ends
Connelly just got a two-year extension from Denver owner Stan Kroenke that will pay him, industry sources say, somewhere just north of $2 million per year through 2021. It will surely take a doubling of that per annum, if not more, to get his attention, and to allow him to go to the Kroenke Family in good faith and say ‘come on. This is generational money for my family that I’ll likely not make again. It’s my (close to) hometown team. You have to let me go.’
Darren Wolfson: One thing heard today on #Twolves POBO candidate Calvin Booth -- yes, he's in the mix: he nearly accepted a front office job with the Wizards before taking the Nuggets ass't GM job. He has many fans in the league.
Connelly, who grew up in nearby Baltimore and has been in charge of the Nuggets front office since 2013, began his NBA career as an intern with the Wizards in 1996, when he was a student at Catholic University. Washington hired him as a full-time video coordinator in 1999. He worked his way up through the front office until becoming assistant general manager of the Hornets in 2010 and eventually heading to Denver three years later.
Josh Kroenke: “Building a true championship contender in the NBA is a unique process for each franchise, and our path in Denver hasn’t always been clear. But Tim, Arturas and the rest of our staff continued to work through every challenge we faced along the way, and I hope Nuggets fans are as excited as we are about our future. We firmly believe we can bring an NBA championship to Denver, and are thrilled to continue our pursuit together.”
Denver Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly, architect of one of the NBA's most impressive rebuilds, has agreed to a contract extension, league sources told ESPN. Connelly's contract could've expired at season's end, but discussions with Nuggets president Josh Kroenke had been ongoing in recent weeks and culminated with a new deal, league sources said.
Matt Moore: Along with Tim Connelly, the rest of the front office received extension offers as well, I’m told. Denver’s front office retains its continuity going forward along with Coach of the Year candidate Michael Malone.
"I'm a player. I'm still focused on my playing career. I want to get the most out of that as possible," Sue Bird said Sunday night before the Nuggets hosted Toronto. "Whether I retire tomorrow or in 20 years, I just want to get as much out as I can. But with that I have an understanding that basketball's not forever. At some point you've got to find something else, find your way, and that's what's so great about this. Hopefully with this process I can find out if I'm any good at this, if this is for me, and see what happens."
Bird was brought on board through a conversation with Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly. He basically asked: What does she want to do when she's done? "I always thought front office work, being with the team day in and day out, that was something I wasn't going to get to until I was done," Bird said. "When he put it in a way I could do both it became extremely attractive."
Bird's quickly gotten up to speed in her role as a scout. Then again, the Nuggets expected nothing less as they're off to a sizzling start. "She's been an asset," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "Anybody who has a resume Sue has is going to help any organization."
Harrison Wind: Sue Bird just spoke with the media for the first time since the Nuggets added her to their front office. In her mind “an understanding of who you are” is the most important quality for a player to have. “If a player knows who they are, I want them on my team,” she said. IMG
Denver Nuggets: 16-year vet. 11-time All-Star. 3-time Champion. Newest member of the front office. (Sue Bird)
Katy Winge: Talked with @Isaiah Thomas this morning about Sue Bird. I started the conversation by asking what comes to his mind when he hears that name. "A legend. A basketball legend." He also told me Bird was someone he turned to before deciding to get hip surgery. His full thoughts:
Katy Winge: Talked with Coach Malone about adding Sue Bird to the #Nuggets staff. "If you know the game and you see the game, it doesn't matter what color you are, it doesn't matter what gender you are. You know the game or you don't. Sue Bird knows the game." Here are his full thoughts:
Three-time WNBA champion Sue Bird, introduced Friday as a basketball operations associate for the Denver Nuggets, wasn't looking to get into NBA management when Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly called this fall with what she called the "perfect match" for her goals.
Harrison Wind: Here’s how Sue Bird describes her role with the Nuggets: "The best way to describe is it as an apprenticeship... a way for me to see what's what, what I like, develop certain things in my arsenal if you will for scouting and that kind of stuff.”
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