INSIDE THE NUGGETS

Former Nuggets architect may leave rivals if lured by rebuilding team

May 13, 2024, 12:31 PM | Updated: 1:30 pm

The man who built the Denver Nuggets and left to build a team to try to beat them could be exiting his current role for a new gig.

Tim Connelly left his job as President of Basketball Operations with the Nuggets for the same role with the Minnesota Timberwolves last month, because of a deal that was too big to turn down. Departing in the summer of 2022 it was initially reported that Connelly had picked up equity in his new team as ownership changed hands. The ownership stake part of it for Connelly was overhyped and the deal really was five years for $ 40 million with performance incentives.

Now with the Wolves ownership situation devolving into chaos, Connelly holding on opt-out option, and a desperate franchise elsewhere in the NBA—the renowned executive could be on the move again.

Connelly is a target for the opening atop the rebuilding Detroit Pistons situation. And given team owner Tom Gores gave Monty Williams a godfather offer to come coach them last summer, it seemingly is on the table for them to score Connelly.

Connelly built both sides of this current Nuggets-Wolves second-round series, becoming Denver’s GM in 2013 eventually elevating to POBO before taking on the same gig in Minny where he’s made major deals to complete the core around Anthony Edwards. Because of Connelly’s success in building the current NBA champions and the team that’s giving them the most issues, he holds a lot of leverage.

Even if he stays in the Twin Cities many expect him to still exercise his opt-out and ask for a bigger deal. Given Wolves owner Glen Taylor has backed out of the deal to sell to Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, it could be in Connelly’s best interest to either leave for Detroit or get some more security. The ownership sell stall is currently in mediation as the two sides work to find a solution for the billion-dollar transaction.

The Pistons are in one of the worst spots in the league. They haven’t won a playoff game since 2008 and now have had 20 or fewer wins in four of the last five seasons. Finishing in the teens with wins the past two years, the Pistons should’ve had a chance at the top pick but they’ve lost out on the lottery to fall to five, something that happened again for a third-straight season on Sunday. The Pistons path forward seems rocky, but it did take Connelly a half-decade to get things really moving in Denver so he may have what it takes to usher in a long rebuild.

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