Tim Connelly is undoubtedly the most interesting name that has been rumored as a candidate to replace Ernie Grunfeld as the Wizards’ top executive. Typically, executives aren’t looking to bounce when their team has the fourth-best record in the league, but Connelly is a unique case. He grew up in Baltimore, went to college in Washington, and spent over a decade in the Wizards organization before going to the Hornets and then taking over the Nuggets in 2013.
Fred Katz and David Aldridge of The Athletic reported last week that league sources believe he’s Washington’s top target. Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post asked Connelly about those rumors, and his response was ... interesting:
“To be honest with you, I was hoping not to have to answer that question on a night when we win the Northwest Division,” Connelly told me, frustrated speculation about his future employment might in any way distract from the Nuggets’ 119-110 victory over Portland that ensured Denver would enjoy home-court advantage for at least the opening round of the upcoming playoffs.
When I asked Connelly once if he was a candidate to replace Ernie Grunfeld at Washington, then doubled back to give him a second opportunity to squash the speculation, he declined to kill the story with a simple reaffirmation of his long-term commitment to the Nuggets.
“What did I just tell you?” Connelly said. “I’m the Denver Nuggets president. Everything else is speculation.”
Well then! Maybe Connelly was being genuine about trying to keep the focus on the team after their big win, but it seems like the best way to do that would have been to affirm he was staying in Denver. If he had done that, we’re not talking about this now.
Of course, Connelly stands to benefit from staying mysterious about the future, regardless of what his plans are. If he’s serious about leaving, it’s best to stay quiet about it until after the Nuggets’ season is over. If he wants to stay, he can leverage the Wizards’ interest into a raise or other perks. It’s still too early to jump to conclusions, but if we learned anything from KD2DC, it’s that not being ruled out of consideration still beats ... being ruled out of consideration.