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Timberwolves Hire Nuggets Executive Tim Connelly in Blockbuster Deal

Some movement in the Northwest Division.

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NBA: Chicago Bulls at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Nuggets President Tim Connelly is leaving the franchise contender he built to take charge of a division rival.

According to Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, Connelly has agreed to become the Minnesota Timberwolves’ President of Basketball Operations on a five-year, $40-million deal plus a kicker for ownership equity.

According to Charania, Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth will assume the lead basketball operations role for the franchise.

Connelly’s deal — which more than doubles his salary in Denver — will make him one of the most well-compensated executives in the NBA. The deal was enough to lure Connelly away from the franchise he has turned into one of the NBA’s best during his nine-year tenure dating back to 2013.

The Nuggets have made four straight playoff appearances, including a 2020 Western Conference Finals berth. Much of that success can be attributed to Connelly’s knack for evaluating talent. Notable selections made under Connelly’s leadership include two-time MVP Nikola Jokic (selected in the second round), Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., Monte Morris, Bones Hyland, Malik Beasley, Gary Harris, and Jusuf Nurkic. Connelly also hired Denver head coach Michael Malone in 2015.

Despite injuries forcing Murray to sit out the season and Porter Jr. to miss all but nine games, the Nuggets finished the 2021-22 season as the sixth seed in the West with a 48-34 record. Denver was eliminated by the Golden State Warriors in the first round in five games.

Now Connelly will take the reigns of an organization looking to build off a 46-36 record and its first playoff appearance in four seasons. After locking down the No. 7 seed in the playoffs during the NBA Play-in, Minnesota took the No. 2 seed Memphis Grizzles to a heated six games before being ousted. Connelly will be inheriting a promising roster which includes three-time All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns and rising star Anthony Edwards.