In a wide-ranging conversation with the media on Friday following Tim Connelly‘s exit to Minnesota, Nuggets governor Josh Kroenke said he has championship expectations going forward, according to an ESPN report.
“We’re entering a new phase of the organization, and with this squad in particular, which is: It’s championship or bust. And this is the first time those words have been uttered around these halls, I think,” Kroenke said.
“We have a two-time MVP, we have two more All-Star-caliber players coming off injuries,” Kroenke said, referring to Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray. “And I think that we are poised in a way that perhaps this organization hasn’t been in the past.
“And that excites me. But that brings a lot of pressure. We’re no longer the underdog that’s kind of the lovable guys that are bouncing along from Denver, Colorado. I think that when we get healthy and show what we’re capable of, we will have a target on our back.”
Kroenke said he doesn’t regret signing Porter to a five-year, $172MM contract extension last summer, despite him only playing nine games in 2021/22.
“I’d say we’re concerned about his injuries, not concerned about the contract,” Kroenke said, per ESPN.
He also said the team was prepared to pay the luxury tax, as Mike Singer of The Denver Post relays.
“Yeah, I mean, I think that you know, first of all, my dad (Stan Kroenke) is the owner. I’m just making sure I don’t screw everything up on a day-to-day basis. … If you’ve drafted well, you better be ready to pay that tax, and we’re ready to pay that tax,” Kroenke said.
Here’s more from Kroenke’s press conference:
- Kroenke endorsed GM Calvin Booth to replace Connelly as the top basketball decision-maker going forward. “I’ve always thought very highly of Calvin, I think he’s going to do a wonderful job for us,” Kroenke said, per Singer. “… He’s got a great mind and I think he’s open to suggestions but he showed me that he can make ruthless decisions when he needs to.”
- The team sent out a tweet to leave no doubt about who will be in charge of the front office. “At the top of the org chart, it’s going to be Calvin Booth,” Kroenke said.
- Multiple sources told Singer that Booth doesn’t have much “contractual security” as he transitions to the lead basketball executive, so Kroenke was asked if he was committed to Booth long-term. Kroenke suggested an extension could be coming soon. “Calvin and I are going to be sitting down, our whole front office and I will be sitting down in the very near future,” he said. “… We’re all talking and I think those guys know where they sit, and we’ll have some more announcements and some more information coming in the very near future.”
- Kroenke said he regretted giving Connelly an opt-out clause after three years when the Nuggets gave him a contract extension in 2019, according to Singer. “I put that in his contract never anticipating that he would opt out and go to another NBA team and that’s what happened,” he said. “There was an option in his contract, he chose to exercise that option. And there was a major offer out there for him.”
- Kroenke reiterated that the Nuggets made Connelly a competitive offer to stay in Denver, and said Minnesota’s offer was definitely unwelcome from his perspective. “Tim was under contract, the offer kind of came in through the side door, as they always seem to do in the NBA,” he said, per ESPN. “And so once those type of numbers start getting thrown around and get into someone’s head, it becomes very difficult to contain. I felt that we made a very competitive offer that would have allowed him to feel good about staying in Denver, and ultimately he felt that some of the upside there on the back end through some of the bonus schemes were probably too good to pass up for his family.” As Singer writes, Kroenke also twice characterized a team willing to pay significant money to poach a rival executive as “desperate.”
- A new practice facility could be in store for Denver, says Kroenke, but Singer notes that the team’s governor made a similar statement five years ago and there’s been essentially no progress since.
35 thoughts on “Nuggets’ Josh Kroenke: “It’s Championship Or Bust””
Well said Mr Kroenke Jr… there is no world in which anyone can regret giving MPJ the contract that he earned, yes his injuries are a bummer & it is a worry that his stellar career can be at risk due to it, but… if he can stay healthy that contract will look very cheap very soon!
Kroenke throwing some shade at Minnesota and how they recruited Connelley.
Big “I’m gonna tell my daddy on you” energy on little Joshie. Sounds like desperation is building in his mind, watching Jokic get another year older, and excruciatingly waiting to see what MPJ and Murray still have in the tank. Lol
Jokic isn’t even in his prime yet. He’s getting better.
Jokic isn’t the problem. As I stated, it’s the combination of Jokic aging another year PLUS the stress of putting the right pieces together around him. Jokic won’t win anything if MPJ and Murray fail to fully return to form.
Is there something in the water in Colorado. Denver nuggets and Colorado Rockies both think they are championship caliber teams, yet neither is. Sure nuggets have a great player in joker but Murray and porter aren’t exactly top 10 players. Let’s just call it a bust now and save the time
Celtics are about to win a title with one all-star level player and no one near Jokic.
I would argue Jalen brown is more than just a role player
Nuggets are absolutely a championship caliber team if healthy. If they can do all that without Murray and Porter it’s exciting to think what they can do together.
Colorado Rockies are definitely on drugs.
Do all of what exactly ? Have joker win multiple mvps? The west is tough right now and you’re expecting 2 players who have missed significant time to come back and run the show? Sounds like some wishful thinking.
That Kris Bryant deal was insane how do you spend that kinda money when you’re so far away and in a division with 3 superior teams with 2 of those teams being top teams last year
I mean the Porter thing is definitely concerning. But if Murray is 100% I think Denver is at least in the mix next season.
If MPJ can miraculously sustain health (unlikely but possible) then I’d argue they might be the frontrunner.
You think adding Murray alone beats GSW 3 more times in 7 games? Nope. Denver gotta add another superstar to have a shot at the big timers. Adding Murray, Porter PLUS someone like, idk, Lebron (or any top 50ish player) would make them as good as they think they are. Aaron Gordon sucks.
Front runner??? In front of the warriors or the suns? Man where do you get your weed I’d love to be that high
Wait … do you mean the Suns that just lost by 87 points in a game 7 on their homecourt? They’re your frontrunner? Nice
You’re talking one game. Didn’t they also have the best record this year? So they blow one game and that’s normal but expecting 2 players to come back from serious injuries and lead the nuggets to a championship is likely? Again where do I get this amazing pot?
Where does 87 come from ? I count 33.. seriously how high are you ?
link to foxsports.com
1) it’s called “exaggeration” – a rhetorical technique from Antiquity
2) “one game” – games aren’t made equally Steve. Example: if the Celtics go on a 3 game win streak right now they win a championship. If they do it in January no one but pimple faced Irish teens care about it
3) Murray is like 24 – pretty sure there’s ample evidence of guys coming back 100% from ACLs in their 20s (MPJ I will give u)
4) I’d ask you where you get your fentanyl but that’s not my scene :/
First off f*ck you my brother died from that nasty stuff. Second you said 87 and I simply called you out in it. I’m sure I can find plenty of people who never came back from injuries at 24
My apologies if that was the case pal. Just trying to keep up with the multiple drug references
I’m sure you could. But I’m also sure in the last 10 years I could find more – Dinwiddie for example, Baron Davis tore it before he came in the league. Al Jefferson recovered fine. LaVine also I believe tore his ACL
My apologies for my comment too but yes that’s the truth. Some c*unt he knew blew up his phone until he finally said he would take them and boom it killed him. Dead at 37, happened 3 years ago and it still hurts to this day
That’s terrible yet seems to be all too common these days. My condolences
Thank you. I’m all for smoking pot but when it comes to pills and the other stuff that’s where I draw the line. Sad part is he told me he quit or I would’ve done everything I could to keep him safe.
IF and BIG IF they Nugs run at 100% health all year next year they are a top team in the West-
Top tier Imo where all the parties are pretty even
GSW Clips (barf) and Nugs for me tier 1
Dallas Mem Phx and Pelicans (semi shocker) tier 2 for me
Jazz Minny Lakers tier 3
Not huge level drops between tiers for me today/yet but Nugs are for surely in the mix
Por SAS Hou OKC Kangz non playoff
We must be watching different Murray’s. If healthy, he and Jokic are more than formidable. Add the players around them and yes, they are as much a contender as anyone else. Looking forward to them being at full speed next season
Stone Cold, I 100% agree, and that’s the bottom line!!
CAUSE STONE COLD SAID SO!
The Porter thing is a real concern – because as good as Jokic is he’s always going to be a bit of a question mark on defense (as GSW put on display this playoffs).
So while I’m tempted to make the comparison of Jokic-Giannis wrt supporting cast talent, I’m not sure it totally holds true, as Giannis can anchor an elite defense, whereas Jokic not so much.
Which makes the extra offensive firepower all the more important if Denver wants to catapult from a team that could make a run with a few things breaking their way to a team that’s a legit contender. This team really needs to be *elite* offensively if it’s going to get there, because I think there’s probably a ceiling to how good they can be defensively.
I agree with a lot of this, but more simply, they have to add another superstar somehow. They are 1 elite player away from being as good as they think they are and a true, real contender and not some regular season fraud, like Phoenix and Utah perennially are.
One star added, or one Barton removed.
I suspect Barton was purposed to be the defensive stopper, like the Cavs did with JR Smith, but there’s a talent and an attitude to do the job so it’s a worthwhile allocation. Some have it, some not.
Why not try and make it out of round 1, then work your way up from there?
As long as Jokic is there and playing at or near his current level, DEN is a contender. But their personnel decisions (including the needless early extension for MPJ) over the past couple of years have hurt (not helped) the cause. If Booth is any good, and is empowered as suggested, it will end up being a blessing that Connelly left.
The younger Kroenke is either being disingenuous, or, going forward, he shouldn’t negotiate executive contracts without some help. In this instance, the “opt out” was almost certain to be exercised, unless Connelly somehow managed to significantly hurt is market value in the interim. Hard to do for an executive in place.
Joshie Kroenke definitely needs to check himself. Spouting off isn’t helping his cause.
It’s perennial bust then. Jokic is overrated he’s a weak 3pt shooter who can light up a boxscore. No big should ever win the MVP or DPOY in the modern NBA.
You keep at it Bright, maybe they’ll make it a rule.
Kroenecke: “It’s championship or bust. And this is the first time those words have been uttered around these halls, I think.”
I liked hearing Kroenecke coming in bold. Nugs need some more of that, or they did, if it’s not too late. I wonder if Donnelly held them back when they should have expected more.