According to Adrian Wojnarowski with The Vertical, the Denver Nuggets will promote Tim Connelly to President of Basketball Operations and Arturus Karnisovas to General Manager.
This is a best case scenario resolution to the Karnisovas/Milwaukee Bucks open GM position situation. Arturas was considered a finalist, along with the Bucks current assistant GM Justin Zanik, for the position. The Nuggets are not the type to deny a person a promotion but undoubtedly they felt the void that would be left if Karnisovas went to Milwaukee and thus found a solution. Arturas still gets his promotion, Connelly is still the head honcho and everything keeps right on ticking. Woj did not say how these promotions will change the day to day duties of Arturas, Connelly and team president Josh Kroenke. However, Altitude TV NBA correspondent and Nuggets insider Christopher Dempsey tweeted out that he did not believe this was an indication of Kroenke taking a hands off approach, and that the collaborative effort the Nuggets front office uses in their decision making process is likely to stay the same.
Not necessarily. They have all worked as a team in transaction-type stuff. I expect that stays the same https://t.co/cwOMZOVadN— Chris Dempsey (@chrisadempsey) June 14, 2017
The organization, and Nuggets fans, can breath a big sigh of relief. Karnisovas is a bit of a legend in Europe and it’s undeniable that the efforts of him, and members of his team such as Rafal Juc, have played a large role in Denver’s ability to find and secure top European talent. Connelly is likely the first guy to gush about all that his team does for him. Beyond the obvious fact the Nuggets kept their guys and that’s a good thing, this move shows a shift in the line of thinking that comes from ownership. Previously the Nuggets have been content to allow their executives contracts to expire and have spurned re-upping them in favor of cheaper alternatives, Masai Ujiri’s departure highlighted this issue greatly. However, after extending Connelly this past season and now being aggressive in making sure Karnisovas is retained, this can be viewed as a departure from that approach. It’s clear that Kroenke recognizes he has a special group in the front office and that he is willing to do what it takes to keep the momentum this group has built going.
No word from Woj or Dempsey as to what the Nuggets now do with their open assistant GM position. Pete D’Allesandro might have been a natural choice for the position but he took a job with the same title with the Orlando Magic this week. There is no indication if Pete was offered that type of position with the Nuggets or not. One would think though that, given the Nuggets clearly value the talent in their front office, if they do decide to fill the position they would do so within. Whatever they do with the assistant GM position, today goes done as a great start to the offseason for Denver. Not only have they retained a supremely talented, and unique, executive, but also they’ve also just thrown out a huge signal to their fans that they are serious about winning and willing to do what it takes to get there.