Asked about the possibility that he might leave to run the Wizards‘ front office, Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly passed on the chance to issue a denial, relays Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post. Washington has reportedly targeted Connelly as its top candidate after firing Ernie Grunfeld this week.
“To be honest with you, I was hoping not to have to answer that question on a night when we win the Northwest Division,” Connelly responded Friday as the team celebrated its title.
Connelly grew up in Baltimore and had his first NBA job as an intern with the Wizards. He signed an extension with the Nuggets in February, but Kiszla notes that the organization doesn’t have a history of paying executives especially well, which led to the departure of Masai Ujiri in 2013. Kiszla suggests that Josh Kroenke, vice chairman of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, should refuse any request from the Wizards to interview Connelly.
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- With the Hornets as a long shot to reach the playoffs, Shane Rhodes of Basketball Insiders examines some situations that might be better for free agent guard Kemba Walker. Rhodes states that the Suns are intriguing with Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton already in place and a high lottery pick about to join them. Rhodes names the Bulls, Knicks, Lakers and Mavericks as other possibilities.
- Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer examines whether the Hornets can afford to bring back Jeremy Lamb if they re-sign Walker. Lamb has established himself as a legitimate scorer and another crunch-time option, but the team would be well into luxury tax territory if it brings back both free agents. Bonnell speculates that it will probably take a max offer to keep Walker ($190MM over five seasons or up to $221MM if he makes an All-NBA team and qualifies for a super-max contract), plus something in the range of $10-$13MM annually for Lamb.
- The Magic are interested in working out a new deal with Isaiah Briscoe this summer, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. Briscoe, who is sidelined by a torn meniscus, was waived this week to open a roster spot for Michael Carter-Williams. He cleared waivers yesterday and is an unrestricted free agent.