Exclusive: NBA Insider Shams Charania expects Nuggets to be aggressive
The Athletic and Stadium’s Senior lead NBA Insider Shams Charania joined The Fan’s Zach Bye and Brandon Stokley on Wednesday to give insight into the recent changes in the Denver Nuggets front office.
Charania broke the news of Tim Connelly’s departure to Minnesota for the same role and the new responsibilities for Nuggets General Manager Calvin Booth. On the air, Charania detailed how the T-Wolves targeted the regarded former Nuggets boss. Charania shared that Connelly is thought of as a top-eight executive across the NBA.
“To be able to go get a guy like that when these guys don’t just grow on trees because of availability, and I think Minnesota targeted Connelly,” he said. “At $8 million per year over the next five years. We talked about ownership equity— it’s still unclear how that will come to fruition, but I’m told the opportunity to capitalize on that will be if Minnesota sells one day… when you package all that together from base salary to ownership equity, this is one of the most lucrative landmark contracts and in for an executive in the NBA. It just became an offer that was too lucrative and too good to pass up overall.”
Connelly had been with the Nuggets since 2013, building the current roster centered around one of the best draft picks of all time in two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic—a selection Connelly green-lighted. Connelly was well thought of in Denver but the Nuggets ownership group, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, for some reason, had Connelly under an option year. This essentially let Connelly walk for free while listening to other offers, while not necessarily rushing to leave Denver, according to Charania.
On Wednesday, The Athletic reported that Nuggets paid Connelly below league average for executives.
Booth now takes over most of the day-to-day.
The approach that Calvin Booth will take and the idea they’re already formulating inside that Denver Nuggets organization. I think this is an organization that you can expect to be aggressive and make moves moving forward here to try to get into championship contention,” Charania said. “I don’t expect Calvin Booth to run a front office that will be shy about making the moves necessary to win a championship.”
The Nuggets have some tough decisions to make this summer as they will ballon into the luxury tax next season for the first time in a decade. While the team’s core is locked in around Jokic, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon, players on the fringes like Monte Morris, Will Barton and Jeff Green could be lucrative trade pieces. The Nuggets also have the No. 21 pick in the NBA Draft, and some clear needs to fill to take their roster over the top.