The Nuggets held a joint press conference with team president Josh Kroenke and newly hired GM Tim Connelly today. Both elaborated on a number of topics, including the team's search for a head coach, along with their current views on Andre Iguodala's impending free agency. Here are a few highlights from today's transcript (via the team's official website).
Kroenke on his decision to hire Connelly:
"(He) and I had hellos here and hellos there but we kind of kept tabs on each other over the years. I have a mental checklist of guys that I like around the league and Tim was atop that list all along. Pete (D’Alessandro) and I discussed the position and I think he is going to have a wonderful opportunity in Sacramento. I think he’s really excited and I’m really excited for him. Once that happened I didn’t waste any time. It was a quick decision for me and there was one person that I wanted to bring in right away and discuss the position – and that was Tim. I made a quick phone call, made a few arrangements and less than 24 hours later, me and Tim were meeting. It was an easy decision to make and I think Tim is just as excited as I was."
Kroenke on the team's head coaching search:
"I’m comfortable with everything as long as both of us are on the same page when we make the decision. I don’t think either of us want to put a specific time frame on anything or have another team try and dictate a time frame for us based on a potential hire they might have. We’re going to do things at our own pace. When Tim and I both become comfortable with a name that we think is going to be good for our roster, that’s when we’ll make the decision. If somebody makes a decision between now and then, we’ll adjust our thinking accordingly.
Kroenke on Iguodala's chances of returning to Denver:
“One-hundred percent. We’ve had some good discussions about that already. I had a good conversation with his agent last week. (I'm) looking forward to following up with them. Andre’s somebody we definitely want to bring back and he’s well aware of our intentions to bring him back as well.”
Connelly on joining the Nuggets:
"There is a culture that is already engrained here; a winning culture. It is a heck of a team that I am inheriting; 57 wins and chock-full of talent. It is a very supportive ownership and it’s a great city. I kind of got to this seat in an atypical path. Anyone who has been unfortunate to see me play knows that I am not much of a player, but in my 17 years in the NBA I have been lucky to work with, for, and against some of the brightest basketball minds in this league. Through those unique experiences I have done pretty much everything from delivering the mail to making trades and everything in between. All of those countless experiences have prepared me for this challenge. It is a challenge and an exciting challenge. But I’m confident that over those 17 years I have reached this point and I feel great about where this team is. I’m hoping next year that we’re having a similar press conference where we can say that we grew from where we are presently. I’m just thankful to be here."
Connelly on the team's head coaching search:
"I got here and the process had already picked up. We’ve been fortunate to interview a couple guys over the last few days that I’m sure you guys are aware of the names. I think after this press conference, I’m looking forward to getting back to work, establishing the staff, and it’s an ongoing process, very fluid. The two guys we have talked to are tremendous and after this I look forward to going into Josh’s office and see where we go in that process."
“I don’t think we want to put a timeline on anything. There is a potential to talk to different candidates but we have talked to two great guys already. I think that whirlwind that I have experienced the last several days we have yet to really sit down and really share thoughts on where we are in the process. Again, we have talked to two great candidates and there is a couple guys we could potentially talk to but I don’t want to put a timeline on anything.”
Connelly's take on the current roster:
“I see I am the luckiest guy in the world. I see a roster that we really thought highly of in New Orleans. When you are in the other room sometimes you are most objective and most truthful. Over the course of our discussions I told Josh it is rare where you get jobs like this with a roster with this much talent. I am familiar with all the guys, I know a few of them pretty well. This is a 57-win team, and again, it is about growing on that. The foundation is there; I think we just have to build off that firm foundation and get some internal growth from some role players, also be opportunistic with trades and free agency and maximize our draft picks. The cupboard is full with an excellent roster.”
Connelly on Iguodala:
“The last guy we spoke to prior to this press room was Andre. He’s such a pro. He’s in there working out. He’s priority No. 1. We’ll be very proactive trying to reach an agreement that both sides are happy with.”