Head Coach of the Denver Nuggets, Michael Malone, took the podium ahead of Tim Connelly as they addressed the media for the final time of the 2018-19 season Tuesday Morning.

“I think we sent a pretty loud message,” Malone replied when asked what the Nuggets proved this season. “I think there were questions about our team all year long, for whatever reason. How legitimate are they? Are they really a number 2 seed? Can they take their game into the playoffs with so many young guys that have never been there before? I would say we answered so many questions about our team in the best way possible.”

When asked for a reaction to the news that Tim Connelly will be staying in Denver, Malone joked that he had mixed feelings, but he was clear about why retaining Tim is a significant development:

“I think I speak for a lot of people within this organization from top-to-bottom. This past weekend, with Tim talking to the Wizards—I didn’t want to see him leave. And when I say that, I have complete confidence that Artūras Karnišovas would have done a great job. We wouldn’t have skipped a beat. But I also realize that I am the head coach in Denver because of Tim Connelly. My relationship with him goes back a long time, and so does his belief in me. I wanted to see this thing through with him as a partner. 

I know we say a lot, and I hope you guys understand where this is coming from—there are 30 teams in the NBA. And I can’t imagine there’s another team, from ownership, front office, and coaching staff, that has the relationship and the alignment that we have. And that’s something that neither Tim, myself, nor Josh take for granted. I love the fact that Tim decided to stay here with us so he can continue to build and bring a championship home to the city of Denver, which is what drives all of us. If he had left, I would have been happy for him because he would have been going home. And you can never fault somebody for doing that. But selfishly, I’m thrilled he’s staying here, and we have a chance to challenge each other and work together.” 

Watch Malone’s press conference here: