Losing a top executive for the second straight time in franchise history is something the Denver Nuggets are having to deal with. Although, this time around is a little bit different.
When the Nuggets lost their former GM, Masai Ujiri, they weren’t on the cusp of being a serious contender. Before Ujuri left, the Nuggets had won 57 games and were coming off one of their best regular seasons in franchise history. However, they were also upset in the first round by an up-and-coming Golden State Warriors team led by Steph Curry.
The roster that Ujuri left behind was a good regular season team but was evidently not ready to win an NBA championship. However, this time around, Tim Connelly is leaving behind a roster that he’s shaped from a team with no direction back in 2013. Into a legitimate championship contender with arguably the best core that the Denver Nuggets have had to work with in years.
Tim Connelly will forever be credited if and when Denver does in fact win a NBA championship. Although, with a two-time back-to-back MVP on your roster in Nikola Jokic, and the team in win-now mode, there’s no time to panic. Regardless of who’s in charge.
Silver linings after Tim Connelly leaves the Denver Nuggets: Josh Kroenke’s ability to find GM’s
As most Denver Nuggets fans know, this is not Nuggets President Josh Kroenke’s first time having to put his faith in another GM to run the show. Kroenke has hired two top executives in the past and they both have been highly coveted by other teams. Believe it or not, but that looks really good for an organization.
Even if Denver has been unsuccessful in keeping their top two executives around, they have chosen the right guys to be in charge. Ujuri and Connelly did a great job for Denver when they were both leading the front offices. So, if Kroenke didn’t believe in Calvin’s Booth’s ability to get the Denver Nuggets to where they need to be, then why would he immediately name him as GM.
Some people would say that he only got the job because he was an internal candidate. Even though this is partially true, I highly doubt that the Kroenke’s would choose not to hire somebody that can get them over the top. Especially with all this talk of the team entering a championship-or-bust window.
So far, Josh Kroenke has shown a great ability to find really good GMs around the league. Absolutely hitting on two executives that were highly pursued by other teams. This might seem like a problem at first, but it just shows that the Nuggets know what they are doing when it comes to finding the next person in charge.
Silver linings after Tim Connelly leaves the Denver Nuggets: Expectations still remain the same regardless of who is in charge
Regardless of who’s in charge, whether that would be Tim Connelly, Arturus Karnisovas (who left to be the president of basketball operations in Chicago) or Calvin Booth. This roster still has a really solid core group to build around.
Of course, this is a big offseason for Denver regardless of whether or not Connelly decided to stay. There’s no doubt that some more pieces still have to be added to this roster, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. But this Denver Nuggets team (when healthy), still has a very real shot at being a championship contender.
The players on this roster remain the same, the only change is who’s conducting the ship as the GM of the franchise. It’s obviously up to Calvin Booth to put the right pieces around this current core in order to get this Nuggets team where they want to go. Although, the expectations were never going to change. It was always going be a championship-or-bust offseason for Denver.
Silver linings after Tim Connelly leaves the Denver Nuggets: Change in the front office could be good after all
Tim Connelly certainly had his ups and downs as a GM/President of basketball operations. A lot of people would say that one of Connelly’s biggest flaws was his loyalty to his players. Now, loyalty isn’t always a bad thing, but it’s also not always a good thing either. Especially when you are trying to build a championship roster.
It’s very true that Connelly fell in love with his players perhaps a little too much. A few players that immediately come to mind are Will Barton, Malik Beasley, and Paul Millsap. All of which are players that he probably should have gotten rid of earlier but chose not to.
The team will likely move on from Will Barton this offseason, while Beasley and Millsap were two players that the team probably could’ve gotten rid of earlier during the Connelly era. Simply put, Connelly was a little more attached to his players then he should have been. Most likely because those were the players that he either drafted, traded for or signed in free agency.
However, the Nuggets new GM, Calvin Booth, has no attachments to any of these players at all.
Tim Connelly was usually pretty reluctant to get rid of his players unless he got the right value for them. Although, that’s sometimes hard when the player isn’t playing well enough to have any value.
Reportedly, Calvin Booth is expected to be aggressive and not shy about making moves to improve the Denver Nuggets roster.
In fact, Shams Charania of The Athletic, had this to say in an interview with The Fan’s Zach Bye and Brandon Stokley about what he expects Denver’s New head man to be like.
"“I think this is an organization that you can expect to be aggressive and make moves forward here to try to get into championship contention. I don’t expect Calvin Booth to run a front office that will be why about making the necessary moves to win a Championship”."
As the Nuggets move on without Tim Connelly, it won’t be forgotten what Tim did for the entire Nuggets organization. Above all else, he created a family atmosphere that should be had for every organization.
While it’s important for Nuggets’ new GM, Calvin Booth, to complete the ultimate goal by bringing a NBA Championship back to the Mile High City. Something that Connelly was unable to do. Nuggets fans gave Connelly a chance back in 2013 after a top executive left Denver, now it’s time to give Booth that very same chance.