DENVER – Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly is leaving Denver to take the same job with the Minnesota Timberwolves for a more lucrative deal, according to reports.
Connelly met with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor over the weekend and spoke with minority owners Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore over the past week, ESPN also reported.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Connelly will sign a five-year, $40 million deal that includes some ownership equity. Wojnarowski also reported the Nuggets offered to try to keep Connelly in Denver but the Timberwolves including ownership equity made the deal more lucrative.
Connelly started with the Nuggets in 2013 as its executive vice president of basketball operations and general manager, replacing Masai Ujiri when he left for Toronto. In 2017, he was promoted to his current position.
He has been key in developing the Nuggets into an annual playoff contender, developing the team’s culture, and bringing coach Mike Malone to Denver.
Connelly drafted Nikola Jokic in the second round of the 2014 draft, and he turned into one of the league’s best players and a two-time MVP. He also drafted Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., Monte Morris and Bones Hyland, who have become key players for the Nuggets.
Another GM will now have to work out whether to try to sign Jokic to a max deal this offseason. Connelly was among the group who traveled to Serbia earlier this month to break the news to Jokic he had won the league’s top individual award a second straight year.
“To watch Nikola develop into one of the few back-to-back MVPs this league has ever seen has been truly incredible,” Connelly said of Jokic’s latest award.
And Connelly was responsible for bringing Aaron Gordon over in a trade in 2021 to try to fill out the team for a playoff run before Murray and Porter were injured after they signed max contracts.
But Connelly was also involved in trades that sent both Rudy Goebert and Donovan Mitchell – both initially Nuggets draft picks – to Utah.
Still, he has turned the Nuggets into an annual playoff team. Denver has made the second round of the playoffs three of the last four years despite losing in the opening round this season to Golden State, who appear poised to make the NBA Finals.
It’s the longest year-after-year playoff run since the Nuggets made 10 straight playoff appearances between the 2003-04 and 2012-13 seasons, though they only advanced beyond the first round in one of those years – the 2008-09 season when they lost in the Western Conference Finals.
The Timberwolves finished two games behind Denver in the regular season this year and lost in six games to Memphis in the playoffs. They are led by All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns but have several other top young players, including Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell.
The Denver Post’s Mike Singer reported that Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth is a top candidate to replace Connelly.
This is a developing news story and will be updated.