Minnesota Timberwolves majority owner Glen Taylor is scheduled to host in Minnesota Denver Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly for meetings about the Wolves’ vacancy for the same position, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Connelly’s discussed the job extensively with minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez and an in-person meeting with Taylor is next in the process, sources said. Minnesota’s attempting a massive hire of a top league executive that would transform the face of the organization.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 21, 2022
The talks represent a move past the minority owner level, signifying that Connelly may be in agreement with Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez on the specifics of a deal that would make him a long-term fixture in Minneapolis as one of the NBA’s most well-paid executives. Connelly would provide a proven partner for new ownership in search of both making a splash and ensuring stability at the highest level of the team’s front office, which in Minnesota hasn’t existed in years.
A meeting with Taylor seems like a logical next step to earn the final approval from the team’s controlling partner (who has final say on any move made for the next 18 months).
Multiple reports have suggested that Taylor will not block the move and simply wants to get to know Connelly more in a face-to-face format before signing off on the deal, which is supposedly a massive, annual financial commitment. I’m intrigued to learn whether or not a sizable raise will be enough to entice Connelly to bolt for Minnesota, or if new ownership will go through with offering Connelly an ownership stake to complete the deal, too.
Scuttlebutt from Chicago: 8-year offer for way more $$ per year than Denver has been paying him.— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) May 20, 2022
Lore and Rodriguez negotiating a deal with Connelly for which Taylor has to foot the bill for its first 18 months is quite the ask, but Taylor seems ready to support his minority partners on the way out if it helps the franchise establish a long-term winner — something Taylor has failed to do in the last 15-plus years.
Taylor back in 2017 notoriously requested a face-to-face meeting with Andrew Wiggins during which he made Wiggins promise he would improve as a player before committing to sign the paperwork on his five-year, rookie maximum contract.
The Connelly news early Saturday wrote the jokes themselves.
Let's hope Connolly is as good as Wiggins at that.— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) May 21, 2022
C’mon, that comes after sitting at the Taylor kitchen table and eating a piece of homemade apple pie.— Judd Zulgad (@jzulgad) May 21, 2022
Worked great with Wiggins decision !!!— Steven Terry (@SJTsportsfun) May 21, 2022
(If Wiggins is going to catch a stray from Steve Terry himself... it may be time for Maple Jordan to pick up the phone and call 612-TSR-TIME).
It is evident that these are not your traditional Minnesota Timberwolves anymore. Lore and Rodriguez appear eager to make their mark on the franchise, in this case one that can kickstart the team’s ascension into sustained playoff relevancy for years to come.
Ownership is truly a competitive advantage in the NBA — and, ironically, while it is still unknown whether or not Lore and Rodriguez will for sure have the funds to complete the ownership transition next year — and it is encouraging to say the least that the duo has the ambition to try and pull something like this off.
Darren Wolfson of KSTP reported on Saturday afternoon the potential of a significant front office member from another team (not Denver) potentially coming with Connelly to Minnesota, which could create an interesting dynamic in the Wolves’ front office.
Some members of the Denver front office will stay behind to continue where Connelly left off, but I’m not sure that Connelly would come in and start letting go members that the team planned on retaining for the next year.
Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Sachin Gupta seems likely to retain his No. 2 position at least for the next year before his contract is up, but how Connelly will fill in seats around himself and Gupta is going to be something to watch.
Taking over the team with the security of having one of the league’s most respected executives in the facility to build around foundational Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards for (likely) the next seven seasons certainly has to be exciting for Lore and Rodriguez.
Timberwolves fans for years have longed for stability and an exciting product to get behind.
And as of Sunday morning, it sure feels like we are building towards an imminent announcement of Connelly’s hiring and a legitimate signal that legitimately sustained stability within and excitement about the team is around the corner.