Tim Connelly will be president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves

Tim Connelly will be president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves

Shortly after joining Timberwolves ownership last summer, Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez made it their mission to find a senior executive with a proven franchise-building track record to lead the organization when they become majority owners in 2023. .

With the help of current majority owner Glen Taylor, Wolves turned to that top target: Tim Connelly.

Connelly, who has spent the past 10 seasons making Denver a contender for the Western Conference, agreed Monday to become Wolves’ new president of basketball operations, NBA sources confirmed.

Connelly met a Wolves contingent on Saturday at Taylor’s home in Mankato, and has spent time considering his decision since then. He finally agreed to a deal after having an extended courtship in recent weeks with Lore and Rodriguez.

The contract is for five years and $40 million, with Connelly getting a stake in the team which will increase the value of the package.

Lore and Rodriguez bought the team for $1.5 billion in a deal that was finalized in 2021. Taylor will be the majority owner through 2023.

The hiring of Connelly represents the end of a long process for the new owners to find a senior executive with a proven track record to lead the basketball side of the franchise for years and eight months after the team fired the President Gersson Rosas in September. .

Connelly has helped build a perennial contender in Denver around two-time MVP Nikola Jokic since joining the Nuggets as general manager in 2013. He was later promoted to president.

The Nuggets reached the Western Conference Finals in 2020 as Jokic blossomed in the years after Connelly drafted him 41st overall in 2014. In 2016, Connelly drafted Jamal Murray, the guard in boom that led this 2020 run alongside Jokic. Murray has been out since April 2021 after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Denver hasn’t made it past the second round of either playoff series since.

Connelly oversaw the drafting of Michael Porter Jr., who has been out most of this season with a back injury, and up-and-coming rookie Bones Hyland, who simply tweeted “Damn…” shortly after. announcement of the news on Monday.

Connelly also drafted two significant contributors to Wolves’ current roster – guard Malik Beasley and striker Jarred Vanderbilt. Rosas traded the pair before the February 2020 deadline.

Connelly hails from Baltimore and also worked for the Wizards and Hornets. He inherits a Wolves roster that made its second playoff appearance since 2004. Monday’s news ends a high-profile act of negotiations as the team still allowed executive vice-chairman Sachin Gupta to lead day-to-day team after Rosas’ dismissal. in September, a few days before the start of training camp.

Gupta has overseen the roster and taken action this season, such as extending Patrick Beverley to a one-year contract and signing coach Chris Finch to a four-year contract as Gupta has spent the last eight months auditioning for the role which ultimately went to Connelly.

Gupta has also made changes to the front office, most recently hiring Steve Senior as assistant general manager at Memphis. The hiring of Connelly raises a number of questions relating to Wolves’ organizational structure.

It’s unclear if Gupta will stay with the organization going forward, but even though Wolves went through the external hiring process, they wanted Gupta to stay with the team going forward.

Finch and Gupta have a good relationship and have highly enjoyed working together throughout the season. Finch also made a move to the property to guard Gupta.

“I’m a huge fan and I’ve been advocating for him to have the opportunity to be the guy to run this team,” Finch said after the season. “Nothing would make me happier than that. No better time, after this season, to be able to keep building.”

But Connelly and Finch seem to have a good relationship since working together in Denver, sources said. Finch was an assistant with the Nuggets in the 2016-17 season.

In terms of the roster, Wolves could potentially be able to offer a supermax extension to center Karl-Anthony Towns if Towns, who has two years left on his contract, forms an All-NBA team. Guard D’Angelo Russell is entering the final year of his contract and will seek an extension as Wolves look to improve their frontcourt.

Connelly will also take care of Wolves’ next draft in June, when they have four picks, including 19th overall.

But he will also oversee several drafts and periods of free agency beyond that. His arrival settles one of the biggest questions surrounding Wolves’ future.

Lore, Rodriguez and Taylor have found their guy and are investing a lot of years and money in him.

Thus begins a new chapter in the history of the organization.

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