Nuggets President Tim Connelly is set to meet with Timberwolves controlling owner Glen Taylor in the next step of talks with Connelly to take over as Minnesota's president of basketball operations, with a deal being close between the sides, sources confirmed.
Owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, who are set to take over as controlling owners in 2023, have the most important voices in the process of identifying and targeting a top-tier NBA executive to run the Wolves going forward, but Taylor, as current controlling owner, has to sign off on any deal.
Since becoming a part of the organization last summer, Lore and Rodriguez have wanted to target a big name with a long track record of building a successful franchise to run basketball operations moving forward. Connelly 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 team president.
The Nuggets reached the Western Conference finals in 2020. Jamal Murray, the burgeoning guard who spearheaded that run alongside Jokic, has been out since April 2021 after tearing his left ACL. Denver hasn't advanced past the second round in the two playoffs since.
Connelly would inherit a Wolves roster that made its second playoff appearance since 2004. The hiring process for the Wolves owners has been a high-wire act of negotiations; they are still allowing executive vice president Sachin Gupta to run the team on a day-to-day basis after the firing of Gersson Rosas in September.
They also will be shelling out a large contract to lure Connelly away from Denver, with sources saying there was a possibility Connelly could receive an ownership stake.
Should Connelly receive a formal offer and accept the job, his hiring would lead to a lot of questions moving forward. He would take the job knowing he would be working with head coach Chris Finch, who signed a four-year deal in March. The two have prior experience working together when Finch was an assistant in Denver during the 2016-17 season.
Just how much would Connelly want to re-make the front office — and how much latitude will the Wolves give him to do so? Gupta has made changes to it just in the past few weeks with the hiring of Memphis' Steve Senior as assistant general manager following the departure of Gianluca Pascucci.
Would Gupta be a part of the organization moving forward?
In terms of the roster, the Wolves may potentially be in a position to offer a supermax extension to center Karl-Anthony Towns should Towns, who has two years left on his deal, make an All-NBA team. Guard D'Angelo Russell is entering the final year of his contract and will be looking for an extension, while the Wolves will be trying to upgrade their frontcourt.