It was reported on Thursday that the Wizards were ramping up their pursuit of Tim Connelly, the president of basketball operations in Denver, to take the same position in our nation’s capital. He had long been Washington’s top target, but the team had to wait until Denver fell out of the playoffs.
It has, and now comes a report Denver has given permission to Washington to talk to Connelly, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Denver Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly will meet with the Washington Wizards to discuss the franchise’s president of basketball operations job, league sources told ESPN.
Connelly, a primary target of the Wizards’ search, is expected to meet with Washington as soon as Friday, league sources said.
Connelly is a Baltimore native with strong ties to the mid-Atlantic region, and he also got his start with the Wizards, getting his front office start in the organization. Denver just gave Connelly a contract extension last February, but the Wizards are the one job Connelly would consider leaving Denver for and the team will give him that out if he wants it.
Also, Connelly reportedly makes $2 million a year, well below the going rate for an experienced and successful president of basketball operations. Washington owner Ted Leonsis may nearly double that salary.
This would not be a formal interview, but if Connelly is offered the job he is expected to take it.
Denver has another reason they are confident in letting Connelly talk to Washington, reports Wojnarowski.
The Denver ownership’s confidence in general manager Arturas Karnisovas’ ability to assume full control of basketball operations, if needed, also played a part in its decision to allow Connelly to hear out Washington owner Ted Leonsis, league sources said.
This sounds like a deal on its way to getting done. If so it would be a huge get for the Wizards, who are looking to fill the position held for 16 seasons by Ernie Grunfeld. Tommy Sheppard is serving as the interim GM and it’s been reported he could stay on as Connelly’s No. 2, if Connelly is hired.
Connelly, or whoever takes on that job, has some big decisions to make. That starts with Bradley Beal, the Wizards best player, who has two more years on his contract and is eligible for an extension this summer. Do the Wizards want to extend his contract and build around him or trade him to jump-start the rebuild without him. Washington also is stuck with John Wall‘s anchor of a contract — a projected $171 million over the next four years for a player who is seriously injured — plus will be paying Ian Mahinmi $15.5 million next season and Dwight Howard at $5.6 million.