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Timberwolves reach agreement with Nuggets’ Tim Connelly to be Minnesota’s president of basketball operations

Connelly’s compensation from Minnesota is expected to be large, as the Timberwolves will empower him to run their basketball operations as he sees best fits.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly following a March 2021 overtime win against the Chicago Bulls at Ball Arena in Denver. Connelly has agreed to join the Timberwolves as their new basketball boss, a source confirmed Monday, leaving the same role in Denver to come to Minnesota.
Ron Chenoy / USA Today Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS — At the start of each of his business ventures, serial entrepreneur Marc Lore puts an intense focus on three facets — vision, capital and people.

And people, he often has noted, are the most important component.

“Bringing in the very best people in the world,” Lore said last fall, “and letting them do their thing.”

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, when it came time to select a president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves — of whom Lore became a minority stake holder in 2021 and, along with Alex Rodriguez, is slated to become a majority owner by the end of 2023 — Lore’s search started at the very top, and ended with one of the game’s most lauded executives joining the organization.

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The rise of Anthony Edwards and offseason acquisition of Rudy Gobert has the Timberwolves, and their fans, thinking big — in more ways than one. Expectations are high and reasons for optimism are plentiful.

Tim Connelly has agreed to join the Timberwolves as their new basketball boss, a source confirmed Monday, leaving the same role in Denver to come to Minnesota.

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Connelly is largely credited with the Nuggets’ ascension to a consistent Western Conference force. He drafted two-time, reigning MVP Nikola Jokic — whom he flew out to Serbia this month to meet and hand-deliver Jokic’s 2021-22 MVP trophy — Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. to construct the Nuggets’ formidable big three. That was supplemented by later selection gems like Bones Hyland and Monte Morris, and Aaron Gordon, who Denver acquired at the trade deadline in 2021.

Denver reached the Western Conference Finals in the bubble in 2020, and seemingly has only been derailed by significant injury losses the past two postseasons. The Nuggets’ future looks as bright as anyone’s in the NBA moving forward.

So why would Connelly leave Denver? It seems as though the decision, which he took a couple of days to make, came down to compensation. Lore has said the pursuit of the best people is made without concern for cost. You don’t cheap out, particularly not when filling your most critical positions.

Connelly’s compensation from Minnesota is expected to be large, as the Timberwolves will empower him to run their basketball operations as he sees best fits. Connelly met with current Timberwolves majority owner Glen Taylor over the weekend to earn the final, most important stamp of approval.

Now he takes over a Minnesota roster filled with promise, starting at the top with Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and Jaden McDaniels. There are other young pieces and other key players that Connelly will be tasked to determine whether or not they fit into the Timberwolves’ puzzle.

Recently-extended head coach Chris Finch and his coaching staff are certain to work under Connelly for the foreseeable future. Will Sachin Gupta, who ran the basketball operations for the past eight months after Gersson Rosas was fired?

Gupta was a candidate to take the position permanently, but now the question is whether he wants to stick around in a No. 2 role, and if Connelly also finds that scenario attractive. If he does, the Timberwolves will have one of the top executive tandems in the NBA.

A number of important decisions face Minnesota’s new head man at the start of what already is proving to be a transformational offseason for the Timberwolves.

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Both his track record as Denver’s shot caller since 2013, and Lore’s track record of tabbing decision-makers, suggests Connelly is up to the task.

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