We have a lot to talk about, so let’s just jump right in!
- The Bulls have officially conducted their first interview:
Utah Jazz GM Justin Zanik did a video interview with the Chicago Bulls today for the franchise's Executive VP of Basketball Operations opening, sources tell ESPN. Denver Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas will interview with Bulls mid-week.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 6, 2020
- Yup, it’s real now. Earlier today, we learned that the Bulls were planning to interview Jazz GM Justin Zanik and Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas, and I guess Michael Reinsdorf wanted to get things started ASAP.
- ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski initially reported that the team would start interviewing candidates this week, but we’re just one day in and they’ve already got one interview done and another on the books for later this week! Efficiency! While the Bulls could certainly take their time, I really don’t mind any sense of urgency. The faster their new leader is hired, the faster the rest of the front office can be reconstructed. Remember, the Bulls are looking to make multiple hires, and that all starts with handing the keys to this new *what’s that* “Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.”
- Yup, to my knowledge, this is the first time we’ve received the title of the position for which the Bulls are hiring. I know we all expected Paxson to be stripped of his role, but this is confirmation. After 11 years, someone else will hold this title and have full basketball authority. Also, this should tell us that whomever is hired for this position will hire the next general manager (as well as whomever the heck else he wants).
- I’ve been more optimistic than others, but I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t still worried about John Paxson staying somewhere in the Bulls organization. While I believe the Reinsdorfs have enough common sense to shove him so far in the back that even a dog can’t hear him, I just hate the idea of him lurking behind-the-scenes. However, according to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson, we shouldn’t be worried about this. Here’s what he said earlier this morning on 670 The Score:
You’re going to be given the keys to the kingdom, this is full authority to make basketball decisions, this is a No. 1 job. John [Paxson] will be around, we all know how much the Reinsdorfs like and value him, but John’s not going to be hovering, that’s not who John is. You guys know John, he wants what’s best for the Bulls, he will not be hovering. This person whoever they hire will be allowed to bring in additional staff, is my understanding. So they’ll be able to build off this infrastructure the way he sees fit.
- I guess. I still don’t love anything about this idea, but I’m also not about to say it can’t work. If his words are true, and the Reinsdorfs are prepared to silence Paxson, this front office should run like new.
- Miami Heat Assistant General Manager Adam Simon is no longer a Bulls candidate (it was confirmed Monday afternoon that he’d be staying with the Heat). Am I surprised? Eh, not really. Am I sad? Uh, yeah, kinda. Simon was an intriguing candidate, but the same can be said of the other executives the Bulls are targeting. Moreover, Simon has been with the Heat organization for over 20 years, and he’s only moved his way up the rankings. Clearly, President Pat Riley respects his services, and the Heat weren’t just going to let him walk away that easily. It happens (Michael: Not in MLB … stupid NBA). Time to move on. Plus, I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to say both Karnisovas and Zanik have a more diverse, league-wide background.
#Heat Vice President of Basketball Operations/Assistant General Manager Adam Simon will remain the Heat, per a team spokesman. The Bulls had been reported to have interest in recent days. @TheAthleticMIA @TheAthleticNBA @TheAthleticCHI #HeatTwitter
— Andre Fernandez (@FernandezAndreC) April 6, 2020
- Two new names to pop up on the Bulls candidate list today: Magic Assistant GM Matt Lloyd and Clippers Assistant GM Trent Redden. If the first name sounds familiar, it should. Lloyd spent 13 years with the Chicago Bulls, holding various titles. He worked his way up the ranks, starting in the video room and eventually becoming the director of college scouting. Lloyd has now been with the Magic since 2012 and has been an Assistant General Manager the entire time. To his credit, he’s held a variety of positions throughout his NBA career, but for many reasons, I don’t love the idea of a former front-office employee coming back to run the show. The Bulls need to move in an entirely new direction and hiring a familiar face to this No. 1 position – as qualified as he may be – just doesn’t feel right. Change it up, please.
- That’s more like it! Redden is another young, proven front office mind who has now been at the helm of two high-profile teams. He was the Assistant GM in Cleveland when the Cavaliers won their first NBA Championship, and he joined the Los Angeles Clippers in 2018 to help shape them into the powerhouse they are today. While in Cleveland, he worked as the basketball operations manager and the director of player personnel before moving into the Assistant GM job there. However, when the Cavaliers decided to clean house in 2017, Redden was let go along with David Griffin (now executive VP of basketball ops with the Pelicans). Obviously, viewed as a top executive, he landed on his feet just fine. Last season, he interviewed for the Pelicans GM job with his old boss but decided to return to the Clippers. Wojnarowski cited Redden’s “unfinished business” in LA as part of the reason, which could very well still hold true today. Perhaps a bigger position could lure him away.