Denver will permit the Washington Wizards to interview Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly for the same job in D.C., ESPN reported late Thursday night. The report described Connelly as a "primary target" in the Wizards' search and said a meeting will happen as soon as Friday. It added that the Nuggets' willingness -- very rare for an accomplished executive in what would be a lateral move -- is rooted in Connelly's ties to the Mid-Atlantic region and "extenuating family considerations."
Connelly, a Baltimore native whose wife is from D.C., would not consider an overture from any team other than Washington, per the report. Meanwhile, Nuggets ownership is confident that general manager Arturas Karnisovas could adequately replace Connelly if he is hired by the Wizards, though Denver's relationship with Connelly remains strong. Connelly signed an extension with Denver in February, but ESPN reports Washington could offer "a far more lucrative package."
A candidate for Executive of the Year, Connelly helped construct a young roster that led the Nuggets to the second-best record in the Western Conference. Denver won 54 games and returned to the postseason for the first time since 2013, losing in Game 7 of the second round to the Portland Trail Blazers. Karnisovas, who joined the Nuggets as assistant GM in 2013 and was promoted to GM in June of 2017, also received a contract extension in February.
The Wizards fired president Ernie Grunfeld in April, ending his 16-year tenure with the team. Interim GM Tommy Sheppard and is a candidate for the full-time job, ESPN reports, as are Oklahoma City's Troy Weaver and former Atlanta and Cleveland GM Danny Ferry. Washington went 32-50 this season, marking its first losing record since 2012-13, with point guard John Wall missing much of the season due to injury.
(With inputs from agencies.)