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Wizards granted permission to speak with Denver's Tim Connelly about open GM job

Wizards granted permission to speak with Denver's Tim Connelly about open GM job

The Wizards interest in Denver Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly is now out in the open.

Washington has been granted permission to discuss the franchise’s President of Basketball Operations job with Connelly, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Washington.

Connelly, who began his NBA front office career with the Wizards, has long been considered a strong if not leading candidate for the opening since the dismissal of long-time President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld on April 2. 

No meeting has been set up yet between the Wizards and Connelly, but one is expected in the near future, according to a source. NBC Sports Washington reported last month of Connelly's unwillingness to be formally interviewed for the Wizards opening, but an openness to consider the job if offered the position.

NBC Sports Washington previously reported that personal considerations make the idea of returning to the area attractive for the Baltimore native. He also worked over a decade in the organization starting as an intern in 1996. Connelly views the opening his "dream job," according to sources.

He also has a good situation with the Nuggets. Denver finished with a 54-28 record this season and entered the postseason as the second seed in the Western Conference. Its season ended Sunday with a 100-96 loss to Portland in Game 7 of the Western Conference best-of-7 second-round series. That result put the notion of luring Connelly back to the area to the test. He signed an extension during the 2018-19 season.

The Athletic reported last week that Connelly's two-year extension would pay the executive "somewhere just north of $2 million per year through 2021." Washington would likely need to significantly increase the per year salary for Connelly to consider.

The Nuggets roster is loaded with young talent including MVP candidate Nikola Jokic and rising star Jamal Murray, meaning a potential deep run in the playoffs next season.   

Connelly is representing Denver in Chicago for the two-day NBA Combine.

Wizards interim GM Tommy Sheppard, former Hawks GM Danny Ferry and Thunder assistant GM Troy Weaver have been interviewed for the opening. 

ESPN first reported the permission granted by the Nuggets.

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This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

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Isaiah Thomas Instagram

This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

One of the best parts of the NBA offseason, behind free-agency and the draft, has to be the open run's that go on all summer long. These sessions give an opportunity for NBA players to team up with each other, while also playing alongside high school, college, and overseas talent. 

Some new Wizards teammates, Isaiah Thomas and Thomas Bryant, made their way to the Rico Hines private run in Los Angeles, California to establish some chemistry before training camp opens in late September.  

As seen above, IT is no stranger to sharing the sugar as he finished top 20 in the league in assists per game (5.9) in 2016, the last season he was fully healthy. While TB is one of the most efficient rim-runners in the league, leading the NBA in two-point field goal percentage (68.5) last season. 

Could this be a preview of what to expect come season's tip? Wizards fans sure hope so. 

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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

The Wizards sought to add an assistant coach with a strong defensive track record this offseason and they did just that Saturday evening by hiring Michael Longabardi, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes. 

Longardi, 46, has spent the last three seasons as a defensive coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers' staff. He was initially hired by former Cavs' head coach Tyronn Lue in 2016 when the team claimed their first championship in franchise history. 

Before joining the Cavaliers, Longabardi held assistant coaching roles with the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, and most notably the Boston Celtics, in which he and Lue served under head coach Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau from 2007 to 2013.

Longabardi was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Xaverian High School, a private Catholic school. He then went on to play basketball at Newberry College where he earned the nickname "Mr. Defense."

Just a day after reports broke that Tommy Sheppard would be promoted to a permanent general manager position, the organization is making yet another move in hopes of improving overall culture and team defense.

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