MINNEAPOLIS — Riding the momentum of a return to the NBA playoffs, the leaders of the Minnesota Timberwolves are determined to further elevate a franchise that has long been in the scum of the league.
Tim Connery was the first big catch. They expect others to follow suit.
“There’s a reason these coastal cities have advantages, but what you can help develop and help add to credibility and define is your culture and organization and the gains and losses,” said Connery, who was formally introduced Tuesday as president of basketball at the Denver Dugger. Gold’s operations after nine seasons in that role. “Hopefully word gets out, if you want to be treated right, this is where you’re going.”
Connery agreed to a five-year, $40 million contract last week, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. That includes bonuses for team performance, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor confirmed. Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez are gradually acquiring the club from Taylor for $1.5 billion, and they are making aggressive pursuit of one of the NBA’s most accomplished and respected leaders a priority matter.
“We have full confidence and trust in Tim that he will be empowered to build a top-notch, world-class organization. Completely stop,” Lohr said.
Taylor, 81, initiated the sale in 2021 with the aim of continuing to guide new owners who will complete the purchase in 2023.
“We feel like we made good decisions together as a team,” Lohr said. “We feel really good about the partnership and where we’ve been and where we’re going.”
Connery left the Nuggets with back-to-back NBA MVPs Nikola Jokic and a promising lineup that went 48-34 in the regular season (a two-game lead over the Timberwolves), and the excellent Jamal Murray was not injured and Michael Porter Connery Jr. also had to uproot his young family.
“I’m not looking for this. It’s a unique opportunity offered to me. For me, the last nine years have been the best professional nine years I can imagine,” Connery said. “As you go through those sleepless nights, it makes you dig deeper, be more introspective, and ask yourself if this is something you want to do. It’s certainly a leap of faith.”
With Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards emerging as elite players and Chris Finch’s coaching in his first full season as a coach to rave reviews, the Timberwolves took No. 2 in the opening round. The seeded Memphis Grizzlies have beaten six games.
Minnesota also became the first team in NBA history to lose multiple games in a row while leading by double digits in the fourth quarter, a staggering 3 times.
“I hope this is a place you want to come and win as we continue to build a successful foundation and grow,” Connery said. “It’s not about the weather. It’s not about having some shiny markets. You’re here to win, be treated fairly, and have a lot of fun.”
Connery became the seventh man to oversee basketball in nine years since Philip Saunders returned for the second time. When Sanders died of cancer in 2015, Milt Newton filled out a season. Then Tom Thibodeau was brought to the top of the now-obsolete dual role of head coach and CEO.
After Thibodeau was fired midway through the 2018-19 season, his deputy, Scott Layden, was the interim replacement. Three years ago, Gersson Rosas was hired, but after being abruptly fired, Sachin Gupta was in charge. He is expected to remain in the front office under Connery.
Finch was an assistant coach for the Nuggets during the 2016-17 season before being hired by the New Orleans Pelicans. Connery called him “Finch” at a news conference on Tuesday — a sign that they’ve developed a good relationship and that Finch will feel relatively safe under his new boss.
“He has a lot of confidence in us and what we’re doing here, especially me, and he has a lot of existing relationships with our employees and people in this building. It’s always helpful,” Finch said. . “He’s first and foremost about people. Doesn’t take himself too seriously. Fits well with our culture.”