If only Stan Kroenke could love the Denver Nuggets like he does his Los Angeles Rams.
Then we wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not he’s willing to fork over Tyler Higbee money to one of the most accomplished executives in Mile High Basketball history.
But alas, here we are, weeks removed from the Nuggets’ fourth consecutive playoff appearance, and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment is fumbling through the Ball Arena seat cushions in search of the money needed to retain president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.
KSE — Inc.
It shouldn’t be this hard, Enos.
We’re talking about the guy who grabbed two-time MVP Nikola Jokic in the second round of the 2014 draft, took Jamal Murray seventh overall two years later, and smartly snatched up Michael Porter Jr. during his draft-night free-fall (and, yes, not-so-smartly gave MPJ a massive contract extension before he had to).
Connelly brought in coach Michael Malone, gave him the freedom to do his job as he saw fit, and established a culture of organizational harmony and consistency that’s produced playoff series wins three of the last four years.
Want to know the last time that happened here in Denver? The Reagan Administration. Back when cellphones could be used as blunt-force objects, the internet was a bizarre abstraction in a Matthew Broderick film and only one player on the current roster (Jeff Green) had even been born.
How is the person responsible for that not worth $8 million a year? Or, roughly, half Rams coach Sean McVay’s salary?
The Grading the Week staff is willing to guess you’ll wind up paying more than that in lawyers’ fees connected to the Rams’ relocation from St. Louis to the City of Angels. No doubt, your chunk of the $790 million settlement due to St. Louis will be exponentially larger.
And we haven’t even brought up the bottom line bleed produced by your up-to-now fruitless lawsuit against Comcast over the Altitude TV dispute. (OK, so maybe we just did.)
Of course, that’s the cruelest joke of them all.
Here you have an executive who’s constructed one of the most compelling rosters in franchise history, topped by its greatest player, that’s enjoyed the sort of success not seen here in decades … and a significant portion of the region’s television viewers can’t even watch them on TV.
Bizarre that you’re struggling to come up with the cash needed to retain him.
Jimbo Fisher — B+
The Grading the Week staff doesn’t normally like to stray too far from the Front Range in our weekly assessments, but we simply had to weigh in on Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher’s epic rant Thursday.
The Nikola Jokic mission: Inside the Nuggets’ covert MVP trip to Serbia
Kiszla: The Nuggets love Tim Connelly. But not enough to pay front-office exec who drafted Nikola Jokic what he’s worth.
Minnesota Timberwolves emerge as threat to poach Nuggets president Tim Connelly, sources say
Altitude-Comcast mediation date pushed back another month to July
Playoffs highlighting Nuggets’ biggest weakness: “You have to have an elite defense”
Responding to criticism from Alabama coach Nick Saban that A&M “bought every player on their team,” Fisher went nuclear, calling Saban a narcissist before going on to insinuate that the Tide’s leader may have bought a few players of his own while rising through the ranks.
As unhinged college football coach news conferences go, this was just about perfect.
Except for one thing: Rather than vehemently deny that money played a role in any of his recruits’ decisions to sign on with A&M (it almost assuredly did), why not embrace the fact that his program is clearly ahead of the curve in getting players connected to NIL deals?
Given that everything the Aggies did was letter-of-the-law legal, there’s nothing to be ashamed of here, Jimbo.