With Nuggets out of playoffs, Wizards reportedly have “ramped up” efforts to poach GM Tim Connelly

Associated Press
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Reports have circulated for more than a month that the Wizards wanted to talk to Baltimore native Tim Connelly about their vacant head of basketball operations spot. However, talks were on hold because Connelly’s current employer, the Denver Nuggets, were still in the playoffs.

Not anymore, so the talks have heated up but there will be no formal interview, reports Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington.

Since shortly after [former president Ernie] Grunfeld’s exit, numerous sources have told NBC Sports Washington they believe the reason for the owner’s methodical approach involves Denver president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.

Connelly is considered a strong if not leading candidate for the Wizards’ opening. However, Connelly wasn’t expected to fully explore a move until the Nuggets’ playoff run ended…

Connelly received an extension this season, Denver announced in February. That signed document likely plays a factor in Connelly’s unwillingness to be interviewed for the Wizards opening, but an openness to consider the job if offered the position, a league source told NBC Sports Washington last month.

It has been reported Connelly makes $2 million a year, well below the going rate for a quality president of basketball operations. Washington owner Ted Leonsis could likely double that salary (and still not be paying more than he did for Grunfeld). That plus going home to a place he is familiar — Connelly started his front office NBA career in Washington — are considered big draws.

Will it be enough?

In the interim, Tommy Sheppard continues to serve as the GM, prepping the team for the draft (the Wizards have the No. 9 pick) and free agency. Standig reports it is possible Sheppard would stay on as Connelly’s No. 2, if Connelly is hired.