The Denver Nuggets have hired New Orleans executive Tim Connelly as the franchise's executive vice president of basketball operations, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Connelly, 36, has been considered one of the league's rising young executive stars and will move immediately into the Nuggets' search for a coach and preparation for the NBA draft and free agency.
He will replace the NBA's executive of the year, Masai Ujiri, who left for the Toronto Raptors.
Nuggets CEO Josh Kroenke plans to work closely with Connelly in reshaping the Nuggets' front office and building upon a 57-victory team that earned the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Connelly is part of a younger generation of league executives moving into top management positions and has been compared favorably to Orlando's Rob Hennigan and Phoenix's Ryan McDonough as part of the league's next crop of bright young minds.
Minnesota Timberwolves GM Flip Saunders, who worked with Connelly in Washington, had been pursuing Connelly for a senior-level executive position.
After learning that his best internal candidate, Pete D'Alessandro, had left to take the Sacramento Kings GM job late last week, Kroenke targeted Connelly and moved quickly to hire him over the weekend, sources said.
Connelly joined the New Orleans Pelicans (formerly the Hornets) in 2010, after serving as the director of player personnel for the Washington Wizards. After starting in the video department in 1996, Connelly moved rapidly through player personnel and eventually to the director of scouting job before leaving for New Orleans to join Dell Demps' staff in 2010.
Connelly's brother, Pat, was recently hired as the assistant GM with the Phoenix Suns.
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