A few hours after learning that leading candidate Arturas Karnisovas officially interviewed for the Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations gig, three new names came into the picture.
Former Atlanta Hawks GMs Danny Ferry and Wes Wilcox along with former Philadelphia 76ers president Bryan Colangelo each interviewed with the Bulls organization earlier today. Not a single one of those names had previously popped up on the potential candidate list … so color me surprised.
In addition, those three names – while experienced – have each been immersed in some form of controversy in the past.
Here’s a quick look at whom we’re dealing with:
- Danny Ferry – The former Atlanta Hawks General Manager had quite the bad-look exit with the organization back in 2014. His tenure with the Hawks ended after he made racially-insensitive remarks about – BULLS GREAT – Luol Deng, though he explained that he was only repeating what scouts had told him as part of a diligence process. Deng has forgiven Ferry and has gone on record saying he doesn’t believe the player turned executive is a racist. With an investigation ongoing, Ferry decided to take a leave of absence and eventually reached a buyout with the Hawks. Later on, it was reported that he was cleared of any racial bias. With his help in Atlanta, the Hawks became a consistent playoff threat and reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2015. Since then, he worked briefly with the New Orleans Pelicans as a special advisor and interim GM.
- Wes Wilcox – Another former Hawks General Manager (2015-2017), Wilcox currently works as an analyst for NBA-TV. He has worked in the NBA since 2002, first making a real dent with the Cleveland Cavaliers where he eventually became the Director of Player Personnel. He helped the Cavs build a 2007 finals contender before he became an assistant general manager with the Hawks in 2012. In terms of controversy, Wilcox was once reprimanded by the Hawks for comments he made at a season-ticket holder event where he mentioned his wife’s race, though it doesn’t sound like the Hawks concluded remarks were racist in nature. Wilcox resigned in 2017.
- Bryan Colangelo – Come on, you know this one, right? Long story short, the guy (or his wife?) had a bunch of burner accounts on Twitter to attack 76ers co-workers. In addition, apparently the accounts would leak sensitive information about the organization’s inner-workings.
While it’s hard to dismiss any kind of interview, I just don’t see any one of these three names walking away with the job. It is worth noting, however, that all three are currently “free agents,” which means it’s easier for the Bulls to just call them up and get a couple more interviews out of the way. I’m not saying these were all for nothing, but with Karnisovas and Zanik as clearly the top-two most qualified candidates, it doesn’t feel worth it (yet) to get hung up on these phone calls.
And most importantly, Woj seems to still be all over Karnisovas as the Bulls new hire.
Denver GM Arturas Karnisovas has made a strong impression on the Bulls in the franchise's process for a new top basketball executive, sources tell ESPN. Those conversations are ongoing. https://t.co/xQnWi4r0EE
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 8, 2020
A complete look of the Bulls candidates/list:
- Nuggets GM: Arturas Karnisovas (interviewed)
- Jazz GM: Justin Zanik (interviewed)
- 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)
- Free Agent & Former Hawks GM: Danny Ferry (Interviewed)
- Free Agent & Former Hawks GM: Wes Wilcox (Interviewed)
- Free Agent & Former 76ers President: Bryan Colangelo (Interviewed)