Editor’s Note: Shortly after we published this post, news broke that the Bulls actually wound up interviewing Jazz GM Justin Zanik over video today. They also plan to interview Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas sometime around mid-week. We’ll have more on that later. Original post follows.
Wait, it’s been only three days?
On April 3rd, it was announced that the Bulls would officially start the process of hiring a new front-office executive, who will (mercifully) have full authority over basketball operations. In the three days since, it feels like we’ve received a months worth of news, as names have come in and out of the candidate pool for one reason or another. Yesterday, for example, we learned that Pacers GM Chad Buchanan declined the Bulls request for an interview on Saturday. And earlier today, for another, it was reported that Toronto Raptors GM Bobby Webster and Miami Heat Assistant GM Adam Simon would likely be told not to pursue the Bulls opening.
We already knew all three of these names were incredibly respected individuals within their organization (you know, like me here at Bleacher Nation, right, Brett?), and chances are, there is already a future lined up for each. No official announcement has been made on whether or not Webster and Simon will be allowed to interview, but it certainly feels like the writing is on the wall.
Oh well, this happens when you’re seeking out some of the best minds in the game, and fortunately, the Bulls still have several other good names on their evolving list. In fact, NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson (who has been ALL OVER the latest news), announced this afternoon that the Bulls plan to speak with Jazz General Manager Justin Zanik and Nuggets General Manager Arturas Karnisovas.
Bulls received permission and plan to talk to Jazz GM Justin Zanik, per sources.
They also have received permission to interview Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas, per sources.
Story posting soon on @NBCSChicago
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 6, 2020
See! Not everyone is turning down the Bulls.
Those are two very solid, well-respected front office executives who have both helped construct a top-of-the-standings Western Conference playoff team. Karnisovas was one of the four initially reported candidates, and we talked about his credentials last week, so check that out. As for Zanik, he’s a new name … kind of.
Zanik surfaced briefly in discussion a couple of days ago, before disappearing with news that the Bulls were not looking for someone who had prior experience as an agent. That said, qualified is qualified, and it appears the Jazz GM has found his way back on the list and into the (virtual) interview room. Since 2013, he has worked for both the Utah and Milwaukee organizations and prior to that, spent 15-years as an agent. Like the other names on the Bulls list, I think it’s safe to say Zanik knows what the heck he’s doing. A very well-respected mind for quite some time, he had been in the running for the Bucks and 76ers GM positions before eventually being promoted to his current position with the Jazz. Hey, those are all good organizations.
At the end of the day, both Karnisovas and Zanik would be respectable hires. And for now (anything can happen), this seems to be confirming that this Bulls gig is, in fact, an attractive opportunity. I know folks probably will not believe that until a solid name actually accepts the position, but I’m choosing to look on the bright side.
Meanwhile, Johnson’s report from earlier today also shared two new names on the Bulls list: Magic Assistant GM Matt Lloyd and Clippers Assistant GM Trent Redden (more on them sometime later).
So, with that being the case, here’s a look at the Bulls complete (public) candidate list:
- Nuggets GM: Arturas Karnisovas (permission to interview)
- Jazz GM: Justin Zanik (permission to interview)
- Pacers GM: Chad Buchanan (interview declined)
- Raptors GM: Bobby Webster (TBD, will likely not be allowed to interview)
- Heat Assistant GM: Adam Simon (Blocked or declined?)
- Magic Assistant GM: Matt Lloyd (TBD)
- Clippers Assistant GM: Trent Redden (TBD)