After a week or so of various rumors potentially tying Denver Nuggets president Tim Connelly to the Minnesota Timberwolves, reports surfaced Monday afternoon that confirmed a deal had officially been struck between the two sides:
ESPN Sources: Denver Nuggets President Tim Connelly has agreed to a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves that’ll make him one of the NBA’s highest compensated executives. Significant coup for Minnesota franchise.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 23, 2022
Woj went onto report that the agreement between Connelly and the Timberwolves was expected to be a 5-year, $40M-plus deal that includes ownership equity.
Moments after Woj broke the news, our very own Jon Krawczynski dropped a fantastic article that outlined everything that took place behind the scenes leading up to this massive moment for the franchise.
One of the most interesting notes from Jon’s piece at The Athletic involved the current standing of Sachin Gupta, the team’s Executive VP of Basketball Operations:
The front office is fully stocked, including Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Sachin Gupta, who ran the department for the last season after Gersson Rosas was fired just days before training camp in September. Gupta was in the running for the top job and sources say he remains a part of their long-term vision for the franchise.
While the part about “he remains a part of their long-term vision for the franchise” suggests Sachin will be a fixture of this franchise moving forward, it remains to be seen whether or not Gupta will actually stick around in Minnesota well into the future. Landing Connelly is no doubt a massive win for a new ownership group that prided themselves on “big game hunting,” but it does eliminate the possibility of Sachin running his own franchise (at least in Minnesota), which could ultimately lead to him looking elsewhere to take the next proverbial leap in his career.
Back to Connelly though — while no one really knows if this latest POBO experiment will ultimately work out or not, there’s no real way for even the biggest Timberwolves pessimist to hate this latest transaction. In the span of just under one year, new ownership (specifically Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez) have come into Minnesota and been determined to no longer act or be treated like a “small market franchise.”
Will Tim Connelly be able to take the Timberwolves to the next level? That’s TBD.— Kyle Theige (@KyleTheige) May 23, 2022
But make no mistake — today is a MASSIVE moment for the franchise. New ownership went “big game hunting” and were successful in doing so.
A new era is definitely underway in Minnesota.
We can debate all summer whether or not Connelly is actually a “top five POBO” candidate, but his impact in Denver speaks for itself, and it was pretty interesting to see the instant reaction from both Nuggets players and media members after the news broke on Monday:
Damn….— Bones Hyland (@BizzyBones11) May 23, 2022
A current pres. of bball operations who knows new #Timberwolves boss Tim Connelly well: "One of the greatest folks you would ever meet."— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) May 23, 2022
Tim has kids that are 7 & 6, is married, big family guy. His brothers Joe, Pat, Dan, & Kevin all work/have worked in hoops. Pat VP w/ Bulls.
What a sad day in Nuggets history.— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) May 23, 2022
Congrats to Tim. Hell of a deal for him. Great pickup for Minnesota. Very interested to see what he and Chris Finch do together. Creative coach, creative GM with a knack for finding unique talent.— Adam Mares (@Adam_Mares) May 23, 2022
Tough loss for the Nuggets. https://t.co/wKsA96EVzP
We talked about this on the pod…— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 23, 2022
Sometimes you really have to be in a building to understand the impact of guys. https://t.co/eRWcAm11wI
That last tweet really sticks out to me — while I know we all love trying to analyze and break things down using tools like Basketball Reference and Cleaning the Glass, the fact of the matter is Tim Connelly is not a 3&D wing player. You can’t simply look at his track record of draft picks or contract extensions and directly tie it to HIS success (or lack thereof) like you can a forward on any given team in the Western Conference. We KNOW why a certain player shot x.xx% from the corner, because in 2022 we have cameras that track every shot, every movement, etc.
My point is — despite all the NBA-related data ON the court, we don’t actually know all that much about what happens OFF the court. The same reason Tim Connelly was even available to the Timberwolves in the first place could be the same reason that some of his past moves in Denver didn’t quite work out (i.e. cheap, clueless ownership). To me personally, the far bigger story as it pertains to Connelly is his standing not only in Denver, but in the league as a whole. Guys like John Hollinger, Marc Stein, etc. have all painted this as a massive acquisition for Minnesota, and that alone gives me serious confidence in how this will all play out moving forward.
After today’s news, the Minnesota Timberwolves now have their off the court leader in Tim Connelly and their on the court leader in Chris Finch. Those are two massive dominos to line up, especially in modern day sports, and now both men (along with a bevvy of other stakeholders) must get to work on taking this franchise to the next level.
(Last but not least, shoutout to friend of the site Trip Wagner for technically being the first person to break this news just minutes before Woj or Shams had it).
Sure looks like Tim Connelly might be heading to the Timberwolves… pic.twitter.com/cJXyMAP8BN— Trip (@NotDWolfson) May 23, 2022
The Internet remains undefeated.