Nuggets hire New Orleans’ Tim Connelly as new GM

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DENVER — The road to filling the Denver Nuggets’ depleted front office began Monday, as the team announced the hiring of Tim Connelly, formerly the assistant general manager of the New Orleans Pelicans (formerly the Hornets), to become the team’s new executive vice president of basketball operations.

Connelly will replace Masai Ujiri, who returned to the Toronto Raptors, the team that groomed him for the Nuggets job, after being named the NBA executive of the year for his role in molding a team that won Denver-record 57 games a season ago.

Some speculated the Nuggets would pass the torch to Ujiri’s right-hand man, Pete D’Alessandro, but the young executive was hired as the new general manager for the Sacramento Kings over the weekend.

So instead, the Nuggets will turn to Connelly, another young executive who is considered to be one of the league’s rising stars, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who broke this story.

Connelly began as an intern with the Washington Wizards in 1996 before rising quickly into the team’s personnel department. He was hired by New Orleans in 2010, and was reportedly being pursued for several general manager openings this offseason — including one from the Minnesota Timberwolves — before accepting the Nuggets offer.

Connelly’s first move in Denver will be to assist in the hiring of a head coach to replace George Karl, who was fired earlier this month, and to prepare for the NBA Draft, which will take place on June 27.