The Nuggets had Masai Ujiri as their president, but he left for Toronto and a bigger payday. They had Arturas Karnisovas helping lead the front office, but he bolted for Chicago and a bigger payday.
Now it is Nuggets President Tim Connelly, who Minnesota is recruiting — with a reportedly much bigger payday — that could be next. This weekend he is flying to Minnesota to meet with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor (even though it is minority owners/owners-in-waiting Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez who pushed to sign Connelly). Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news.
Denver Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly is traveling to meet with Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor this weekend in the next step in the team’s pursuit to hire Connelly and make him one of the NBA’s highest-compensated executives, sources told ESPN…
Connelly has long professed his affinity and devotion to the Western Conference contender and organization that he has built with the Nuggets, but he could become the second consecutive top basketball executive to leave the Nuggets for a significantly more lucrative offer elsewhere.
Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports summed everything up nicely.
Stan Kroenke is one of the richest owners in the NBA, and all Tim Connelly wants is to be paid like a top president of basketball ops. That’s it. He doesn’t want to leave Denver. But he will make the right decision for him and his family.
— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) May 21, 2022
This is not about the cities or where the teams are in development stages. This is about money — and feeling respected for your work by being paid at the market rate (or higher, Connelly is one of the top executives in the league).
The Kroenke family has a reputation for not paying top dollar for their NBA executives. Money isn’t everything with a job, but it matters a lot. Connelly has options, and to keep him Denver may need to consider a raise.
If Connelly leaves, Calvin Booth likely steps right into the job with a smooth transition. However, with the Nuggets in a championship window starting next season — assuming Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are healthy to pair with Nikola Jokic — and what message would it send to players and fans if they let another top executive walk?