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Wizards granted permission to discuss opening with Tim Connelly

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NBA: Denver Nuggets-Media Day Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Wizards have been granted permission to meet with Tim Connelly regarding their opening for a President of Basketball Operations, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. As Wojnarowski notes, it’s unusual for teams to grant this kind of permission to opposing teams, but there are unique circumstances at play with Connelly, the Wizards, and the Nuggets.

The Nuggets’ willingness to grant permission for Washington to talk to its Executive of the Year candidate is rooted in Connelly’s deep ties to the Mid-Atlantic region and some extenuating family considerations, league sources said. Connelly holds a great affection for the Nuggets organization and would’ve only considered an overture from Washington.

The Denver ownership’s confidence in general manager Arturas Karnisovas’ ability to assume full control of basketball operations, if needed, also played a part in its decision to allow Connelly to hear out Washington owner Ted Leonsis, league sources said.

Oddly enough, Connelly became the Nuggets’ top executive thanks to similar circumstances. Denver granted Toronto permission to speak with Masai Ujiri in part thanks to their confidence Connelly could manage the Nuggets’ rebuild. Now, the Wizards could benefit from how he has groomed Karnisovas to be the heir apparent.

It’s important to keep in mind this news only means the Wizards can discuss the opening with Connelly. There is still the matter of putting together the right package to get him to leave what he’s built in Denver, where the Nuggets were just a few buckets away from making the Western Conference Finals. He currently makes around $2 million per year in Denver and would need a “significant” raise to make the jump to Washington, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic.

If things don’t work out with Connelly and the Wizards, Washington still has three other candidates for the opening: Their interim president Tommy Sheppard, former Cavaliers and Hawks General Manager Danny Ferry, and Thunder Vice President Troy Weaver.