Sources: Wolves sign exec Connelly to $40m deal

Denver Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly has agreed to a five-year deal worth more than $40 million that includes a stake to oversee basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves. sources told ESPN on Monday.

The deal makes Connelly one of the highest-paid executives in the NBA and transforms a Timberwolves franchise that has struggled to find stability in its leadership structure.

Connelly discussed the job at length with Timberwolves minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez last week and met with majority owner Glen Taylor on Saturday in Minnesota, and his representative, Andy Miller of Klutch Sports, finalized terms of the massive deal on Monday, sources mentioned.

Nuggets governor Josh Kroenke made a bid to keep Connelly, sources said, but an offer that would have made Connelly one of the league’s highest-paid executives was still overshadowed by the Timberwolves’ massive offer. , sources said. Only a handful of senior league executives have a stake as part of their trades.

Connelly has long professed his affinity and dedication to the Western Conference contender and the organization he built with the Nuggets, but he becomes the second consecutive top basketball executive to leave Denver for a much more lucrative offer. somewhere else. Connelly replaced Masai Ujiri in 2013, who left Denver for the Toronto Raptors.

Denver is expected to continue with general manager Calvin Booth leading the organization, sources said.

Connelly has built a reputation as one of the league’s top talent evaluators and dealmakers, maintaining strong relationships with top players’ agents and the respect of his front-office peers. Connelly has a strong relationship with two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, whom he drafted with the 41st overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. Jokic is eligible for a contract extension this summer.

Lore – who is set to take over Taylor in 2023 – had recruited Connelly and made the case for their partnership together.

Connelly had been in regular contact about the process with Kroenke and considered the Nuggets counter, but the historic nature of Minnesota’s offer became too much to pass up, sources said.

Minnesota has an interim general manager, Sachin Gupta, in place after Gersson Rosas was fired preseason.

Connelly turned down an opportunity to become the Washington Wizards’ top basketball executive three years ago, opting to stay with the Nuggets. He grew up in Baltimore and spent the early years of his front office career in Washington.

Connelly spent nine years building the Nuggets into a Western Conference contender, though injuries have shorted the franchise for the past two years after a run to the conference finals in 2020.

The Timberwolves reached the Western Conference playoffs that season, losing to Memphis in a six-game opening series. Minnesota has a young core of talent — including No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards and All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns — who could make the franchise great for years to come.

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