In a last-minute move to keep their highly-regarded front office intact, Nuggets' President Josh Kroenke has promoted General Manager Tim Connelly to President of Basketball Operations and Assistant General Manager Arturas Karnisovas to General Manager, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The move was designed to keep Karnisovas, who was a finalist for the Milwaukee Bucks' general manager opening along with Milwaukee interim GM Justin Zanik, in-house. Wojnarowski reports that Karnisovas withdrew his name from consideration for the Bucks' vacancy Wednesday afternoon.
League sources confirmed to BSN Denver that Karnisovas will indeed stay with the Nuggets.
Karnisovas, who's been a crucial asset to Denver's front office for his European roots and connections to the international scouting scene, was highly coveted by Milwaukee for their GM post after the 46-year-old was a finalist for the Brooklyn Nets' general manager position last summer, which ultimately went to Sean Marks.
This power move from Kroenke also keeps Denver's front office together with the draft just eight days away. The Nuggets hold the No. 13 selection, along with picks No. 49 and 51 in the second round.
For Denver, retaining Karnisovas sends a message to the rest of the league that the Nuggets are committed to their current track. In year's past, the Nuggets, who recently lost executive Pete D'Alessandro to Orlando and assistant coach Chris Finch to New Orleans just this offseason, may have let Karnisovas walk if he was indeed offered the Milwaukee job. Kroenke wasn't about to let that happen again.
When meeting with max-level free agents, something the Nuggets will likely do at some length and capacity this summer, organizations have to be on the same page to execute a high-level pitch. All key players need to know their role and responsibility in order to deliver a lasting message. Keeping Denver's brain trust intact makes that a possibility.
This move represents a new direction and standard in Denver. Kroenke was able to step up, retain Karnisovas and send the Nuggets into a crucial offseason with a fully intact front office.