Denver – Vice Chairman of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment Josh Kroenke He said Friday that the Denver Nuggets are entering the “championship or statue” chapter that General Manager Calvin Booth will direct after CEO Tim Connelly’s recent departure for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“We’re entering a new phase of organizing, and with this team in particular, which is: Championship or bankruptcy,” Kroenke said. “And this is the first time these words have been uttered around these halls, I think.”
Fulfilling this promise depends on returns Jamal Murray (knee) and Michael Porter Jr.. (Back) To the court next to the star Nikola Jokicwho led the Nuggets to a 48-win season without his fellow superstars last season.
“We have the two-time best player, and we have two other players of all-star caliber coming out of injuries,” Kroenke said. “And I think we are prepared in a way that this organization may not have existed in the past.
“And it excites me. But it brings a lot of pressure. We’re no longer the underdogs. This is the kind of lovable guy who jumps out of Denver, Colorado. I think when we recover and show our ability from, we’ll have a target on our backs.”
In a full-scale 33-minute press conference – his first since 2015 – Kronk said both the Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche would receive new training facilities as part of a massive redevelopment plan near the Ball Arena.
Kroenke also said he was concerned about the impact on young fans of the local television blackout of nearly three years to the Nuggets and Avalanche games due to a dispute with the state’s largest cable company.
Altitude TV – an independent regional sports network owned by Stan Kroenke – has been in a long-running dispute with Comcast, the state’s largest cable provider, which has not transferred Altitude since the previous deal expired in 2019.
He also congratulated Kroenke Connelly, who recently left to serve as head of basketball operations for the Timberwolves after nine years in the same role in Denver.
Connelly’s deal is worth $40 million over five years, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor confirmed it includes bonuses for team performance.
Kroenke said he made a competitive bid to keep Connelly.
“The term ‘equity’ came up,” Crokney said. “I didn’t necessarily know what that meant. It can mean a lot of different things in the business world.” But right from the start, he said, ‘Hey, if there’s some kind of stock rally, I really need to look at this for my family’s sake. And I said, “Okay.”
“Tim was under contract, and the show kind of came through the side door, as it always is in the NBA. And so once that kind of number starts going around someone’s head, it becomes very difficult to contain. I felt like we made a bid. Very competitive that would have allowed him to feel good about staying in Denver, and in the end he felt that some of the upside there in the back end with some bonus plans might have been too good to be missed for his family.”
The press conference was originally scheduled for over a week ago after Connelly left, but Kroenke said he contracted food poisoning and then COVID-19. He said he finally tested negative for the virus Thursday, allowing him to attend Avalanche’s 4-0 victory over Edmonton in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Conference Finals.
Booth will take over Connelly’s duties in Denver, although Kroenke said he will step in and help with the transition.
“I’ve always been very appreciative of Calvin; I think he’d do a great job for us,” Kroenke said. “I had some great conversations with the coach [Michael] Malone follows Tim’s departure to exchange messages with Nicolas and Jamal. I think everyone is very excited. They are clearly saddened by his passing but very excited for the future.”
Kroenke was among several members of the organization who traveled to Sombor, Serbia, last month to give Jokic his second MVP trophy, and Kroenke said he is planning a return trip this summer to present Jokic with a Supermax contract.
This extension is expected to be $241 million, the largest contract in NBA history.
Kronk also said he had no regrets about extending Porter’s five-year, $172 million contract before last season, when Porter played just nine games before he needed another back-end operation.
“I’d say we’re concerned about his injuries, we’re not worried about the contract,” Kroenke said.