Northwest Notes: Connelly, Wolves, Jokic, Trail Blazers

Nuggets president Tim Connelly faces several important decisions if he winds up running the Timberwolves, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Connelly is meeting with Wolves owner Glen Taylor this weekend, and the two sides appear to be getting close to a deal, per Hine.

Minnesota gave Chris Finch a four-year extension in March, so the coaching situation is stable. Connelly has experience working with Finch, who served as a Denver assistant in 2016/17. Things are less clear regarding the front office, which has been run by Sachin Gupta since Gersson Rosas was fired in September. Gupta recently made an important personnel move, hiring Steve Senior as assistant general manager.

As for the roster, Karl-Anthony Towns will be eligible for a super-max extension this offseason if the star center is voted onto an All-NBA team, Hine notes. Connelly would also have to determine whether to pursue extension talks with D’Angelo Russell, who is entering a contract year, and would be searching for ways to improve the roster to build on this year’s playoff appearance.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • If Connelly joins the Timberwolves, he might bring a big-name executive from another organization with him, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Taylor isn’t expected to stand in the way of the rumored move, which is supported by incoming owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez.
  • The Nuggets‘ lack of urgency to keep Connelly should make Nikola Jokic think twice about committing to the organization, argues Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post. Kiszla accuses Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, which owns the team, of treating everyone like they can be replaced, even Connelly, who built a potential title contender and was responsible for drafting Jokic in the second round. Connelly was upset that the Nuggets failed to offer him a long-term deal during the season, according to Kiszla, and that decision could cost the team one of its most valuable assets.
  • The Trail Blazers may target Charlotte’s Miles Bridges and Cody Martin in free agency, per Ian Begley of Both players will be restricted free agents, so the Hornets could match any offer that Portland (or another team) makes.
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