The Denver Nuggets are slowly starting to rebuild their front office and coaching staff after a steady exodus of folks, either by choice (Masai Ujiri and Pete D’Alessandro) or by force (George Karl).
On Monday, a new executive vice president of basketball operations had been named. On Tuesday, a deserving head coaching candidate went through the interview process. What will Wednesday bring in Denver?
Well, a much-awaited interview with former Memphis Grizzlies head coach, Lionel Hollins, to begin with.
Tim Connelly – who worked under GM Dell Demps in New Orleans – takes over as Denver’s new executive vice president of basketball operations after spending three seasons with the Hornets/Pelicans.
“We are extremely excited to have Tim join the Denver Nuggets organization,” Nuggets CEO Josh Kroenke said in a press release.
“He comes from a great basketball background, possesses an incredibly strong work ethic and is a wonderful person. His passion and energy for the game of basketball are contagious and I am confident that he will be a great fit with us in Denver.”
Denver won a team-record 57 games last season and finished third in the West with the NBA’s third-youngest roster and now Connelly, who is 36-years old, won’t let his age limit his hopes of pushing Denver to the next level.
“Big shoes to fill,” Connelly said. “Masai and Pete (D’Alessandro) rightfully have been recognized for the great things they’ve done in Denver. There are great guys still on staff that I can’t wait to work with. It’s humbling to follow in (Ujiri’s) footsteps. He left the house in good order.”
The first major responsibility before shifting the focus to the 2013 NBA Draft for Connelly is partnering with Kroenke on finding a replacement for Karl, who was the 2013 Coach of the Year. Tuesday provided the first step, as Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw met with the Nuggets as reported by the Denver Post.
"He's a natural leader," said Frank Hamblen, a longtime Phil Jackson assistant who both coached Shaw and coached alongside him. "Even though he came off the bench for us with the Lakers, and it's hard for those guys to lead, he showed excellent leadership. Very few people are capable of doing that.”
Leadership: that’s exactly what the Denver Nuggets are trying to establish these days as they add Tim Connelly to their front office and begin the process to fill their coaching vacancy.