The Timberwolves‘ interest in longtime Denver executive Tim Connelly was known two weeks ago when a Nuggets traveling party went to Serbia to surprise Nikola Jokic with his MVP award, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. At the time, there was some hope that a new deal between Connelly and the Nuggets could be struck, but Minnesota’s momentum began picking up shortly thereafter.
During the two days between Connelly’s meeting with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor on Saturday and his decision to accept Minnesota’s offer on Monday, there was some hope within the Nuggets’ organization that the Kroenkes might find a way to keep Connelly, according to Singer. The team did make a counter-offer, but there was a “significant gap” between Denver’s offer and Minnesota’s, a source told The Denver Post.
Interestingly, one source with knowledge of the situation told Singer that if the decision on Connelly’s future had been entirely up to Josh Kroenke, Connelly probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere. In other words, it sounds like Josh may have been more willing to step up financially than his father Stan Kroenke, who also let Masai Ujiri walk in a similar situation nine years ago.
Here’s more on the Nuggets:
- Nuggets ownership didn’t learn anything from having nearly lost Connelly to the Wizards in 2019, according to Harrison Wind of TheDNVR.com, who argues that Stan Kroenke still doesn’t value his top basketball executives and “skimps on line items that rival organizations would deem as necessities.”
- The Nuggets are on the precipice of championship contention, but they’re not there yet, Singer writes for The Denver Post. The team could badly use at least one more wing defender, Singer notes, adding that it will be interesting to see if general manager Calvin Booth – who is expected to become Denver’s head of basketball operations – will value pieces like Bones Hyland, Zeke Nnaji, and this year’s No. 21 pick any differently than Connelly would have.
- Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer takes his own look at the Nuggets’ offseason to-do list, writing that the club needs to surround Jokic with better shooters and perimeter defenders. O’Connor also suggests that Jokic should wait to see what moves Denver makes before locking in his five-year, super-max extension, but acknowledges that he’d be surprised if the two-time MVP doesn’t sign his new deal early in the offseason.