Northwest Notes: Connelly, Booth, Morris, Jazz

New president of basketball operations Tim Connelly has a lot of decisions to make in his first draft with the Timberwolves, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. In addition to the No. 19 pick, Minnesota holds three second-round selections at 40, 48 and 50. Connelly is looking forward to shaping the team, but he admits that whoever is selected might not have a major role next season as the Wolves are planning to be contenders.

“If you look at the final eight teams this year, there’s not many teams that were playing rookies,” Connelly said. “So, we’re drafting for the next three to seven years. If we expect the 19th pick to make an instant impact on a team that was in the playoffs last year, it’s unfair for that player. You want to get on base with 19. How much do you want to swing for the fences? That depends who’s there.”

Connelly adds that the Wolves are “super open” to trading one or more of the picks, but he’s been surprised by how quiet the market has been so far.

“I thought they’d be a bit further advanced than they are today,” he said about trade talks. “But all it takes is one call, and you make a trade in two minutes. A lot of jabbing right now; hopefully there’s some punching starting [Thursday] morning.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets could also be active on the trade market as new general manager Calvin Booth runs the team’s draft for the first time, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Booth has two first-round picks to work with after acquiring No. 30 in a trade with the Thunder, and sources close to the team told Singer he might try to move up or swap both selections for veteran help. If the Nuggets keep the picks, Singer expects them to prioritize experienced prospects who can contribute on both ends of the court.
  • There’s speculation that the Wizards are interested in Monte Morris, but the Nuggets won’t part with the back-up point guard without a “significant return,” Singer tweets.
  • Jazz owner Ryan Smith said the team has started conducting second interviews in its search for a new head coach, per Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. He added that the organization is taking it slow and he’s trusting CEO Danny Ainge and general manager Justin Zanik to determine the best candidates.
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