Pistons rumors: Dream candidate a possibility in Detroit

Jun 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly
Jun 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly / Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Detroit Pistons are looking for some reason to be excited and optimistic this offseason and hiring the right president of basketball operations would help. 

Detroit’s search is still in its early days, but possible names have started to leak. Jon Horst, the current GM of the Bucks is one of them, though he’s not a guy who is going to excite the fanbase too much given his recent history of firing and hiring the wrong coaches, though the Doc Rivers hire was more of an organizational decision than one he wanted according to reports. 

Insider Marc Stein (subscription) dropped a name yesterday that would have Detroit buzzing, Tim Connelly, the current president of the Minnesota Timberwolves: 

"The Pistons, Im told, would naturally have interest in Timberwolves lead executive Tim Connelly in the event that Connelly was moved to use the opt-out clause in his Minnesota contract at season's end that can be activated amid the ongoing ownership battle between longtime incumbent owner Glen Taylor and would-be buyers Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore. Connelly finished third Tuesday in Executive of the Year voting after his initially panned Rudy Gobert trade (and other moves) helped the Wolves advance to a second-round playoff encounter against the defending champions from Denver who Connelly largely assembled in his previous job. Connelly is completing the second season of a five-year, $40 million deal with Minnesota. "

Given his history of success, Connelly would be one of the dream candidates for the Pistons. 

Detroit Pistons rumors: Tim Connelly for president of basketball operations 

Connelly’s record of achievement is as good as anyone you’ll find in the executive ranks, as he first helped build the Denver Nuggets to where they are today and has seemingly done the same in Minnesota. 

His current and former team will clash in the second round of the playoffs with a trip to the Western Conference Finals on the line. 

Connelly has some interesting moves on his record that were questioned at the time but ended up working out, including the trade for Aaron Gordon in Denver and the trade for Rudy Gobert in Minnesota. 

Connelly’s philosophy is not just to collect talent, but to build an actual team that complements one another, something that has been sadly missing in Detroit.  

The question is whether Connelly will actually be available, and we may have to wait until the third round of the playoffs to find out, as Minnesota may not grant permission to interview him (if he’s even interested in the job) until they are out of the playoffs or at least into the WCF. 

The Pistons need someone who thinks big and isn’t afraid to make dramatic moves, as they need to do something to shake up a roster that has finished with the worst record in the league two years in a row. They also need someone who has experience building around a unique talent, as he did in Denver with Jokic and in Minnesota with Anthony Edwards, a player whose career numbers are similar to Cade Cunningham's.

Normally I wouldn't think that dysfunctional Detroit would have a shot at Connelly, but given Minnesota's ownership situation, Connelly may see this as a chance to start with a clean slate. You really want a legacy, Tim? Build a consistent playoff team in Detroit and you'll have your own statue, as this city and its fans are hungry for a winner and for the team to return to its former glory.