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 discussed the job extensively with Timberwolves minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez in the past week, and meeting with Taylor is next in the process, sources said.
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. Connelly replaced Masai Ujiri in 2013 when Ujiri left Denver for Toronto.
Connelly has built a reputation as one of the NBA’s best talent evaluators and deal-makers, maintaining strong relationships with top player agents and the respect of his front-office peers. He has a strong relationship with two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, whom Connelly drafted with the 41st overall pick of the 2014 NBA draft. Jokic is eligible for a contract extension this summer.
Lore — who is poised to take over majority ownership from Taylor in 2023 — has recruited Connelly and made a case for their partnership, sources said. Connelly has also remained in regular contact with Nuggets governor Josh Kroenke, sources said, and Minnesota received permission to discuss the job with Connelly.
Minnesota has an interim general manager, Sachin Gupta, in place after the preseason dismissal of Gersson Rosas.
Connelly turned down an opportunity to become the Washington Wizards’ top basketball executive three years ago, choosing to remain with the Nuggets. Connelly grew up in Baltimore and spent the first several years of his front-office career with Washington.
He has spent nine years building the Nuggets into a Western Conference container, although injuries short-circuited the franchise in the past two seasons after a run to the Western Conference finals in 2020.
The Timberwolves reached the playoffs this season, losing to Memphis in a six-game, opening-round series. Minnesota has a young core of talent — including 2020 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards and All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns — who could make the franchise formidable for years to come.