There have been a TON of updates through the day today, including a lot since our last check-point, but I know where to start: The discussion surrounding Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas continues to heat up, and it feels like we’re about to reach a boiling point.
Karnisovas finished his first interview with the Chicago Bulls earlier today, but news already dropped last night (and was reiterated this morning by David Kaplan) that he is the Reinsdorf’s leading candidate for the open executive vice president of basketball operations position. And despite a flurry of odd-ball interview announcements earlier this afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has confirmed that Karnisovas is the Bulls focus.
Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas has made a strong impression on the Chicago Bulls and emerged as a focus of the franchise’s process to hire a new executive VP of basketball operations, sources tell ESPN.
Conversations with Karnisovas and Bulls officials are continuing today, sources said.
YOU LOVE TO SEE IT.
Of course, you don’t want to jump the gun when it comes to excitement, but it certainly feels like all signs are pointing toward Karnisovas becoming the Bulls next front office leader – and very soon too. Woj also continues to report that, if hired, Karnisovas will have complete authority to “reshape” the organization and hire a new GM.
All I can say now is … SIGN. THE. PAPERS.
But while Karnisovas may be the leader, he’s not the only candidate – and his frontrunner status is FAR from the only news. Let’s jump in.
- Just when it looked like the Bulls might interview only a shortlist of candidates for their vacant gig, the list grew rapidly. Earlier today we learned that the Bulls spoke with three “free agent” executives (former Hawks GMs Danny Ferry and Wes Wilcox, as well as former 76ers president Bryan Colangelo), and according to the Sun-Times, there are several other names on the list not being shared. Huh, why? Well, it appears the Bulls are initiating conversations about other positions simultaneously. Karnisovas might be closing in on the first big job, but what about the GM position? How about the head of scouting … or player development … or analytics? Calling others now – when teams have a little more free-time than usual – to touch base on other openings can’t hurt, and the Sun-Times says that’s exactly what’s happening:
“What’s important to also note, not all of these interviews have been for the same position, and not all of them were true interviews. There were several names on the list that Reinsdorf simply wanted to check in with, gather some information from, and have a good feel for just in case.”
- Is Michael Reinsdorf doing a good job? Obviously, there is plenty of time for him to screw up (please don’t), but I can’t deny that he’s covering all the bases thus far. The first new hire is supposedly set to be in charge of all subsequent hires, however, I respect Reinsdorf for doing some of the extra leg work right now. He’s positioning himself to have an informed conversation with his new VP, and if the plan is to overhaul nearly the entire front office, that’s a very important start.
- The other extremely interesting part of the Sun-Times reports is that there might be a world where the Bulls try to hire both Jazz GM Justin Zanik and Karnisovas:
“The source said that Zanik was also impressive, and with a strong background in player relationships and the NBA cap rules, maybe there’s a scenario where Reinsdorf is looking to hire several executives, handing out like titles to manage different departments.”
- You have my attention! I can’t imagine this happening (unless Zanik wants to move from one GM job to another), but this is a VERY interesting development. If the Bulls could somehow land both minds to lead the new-look front office, that would be a HUGE W for Michael Reinsdorf (and, frankly, all of us). Again, I wouldn’t get your hopes up, but it’s a fun thought.
- Okay, back to our front-runner. According to Denver Sports Columnist Paul Klee, who appeared on 670 The Score earlier today, Karnisovas really wants this job. And even better, his co-workers and bosses in Denver are lobbying for him to land it. Not only does that prove how awesome of a relationship he’s built with his current organization, but it likely means he has little hesitation when it comes to taking on this challenging task.
Appreciate how Nuggets front office has rallied behind Arturas Karnisovas' pursuit of Bulls job. Know they'll take a hit, still rooting + lobbying for their guy.
— Paul Klee (@bypaulklee) April 8, 2020
- Lastly, the Bulls list of candidates has expanded, but that doesn’t mean it’s diverse. ESPN’s Marc Spears has brought up a solid point about the league’s lack of diversity as a whole, and he spoke with a black assistant GM who voiced his opinion on the Bulls current interview process. Some very good names are on that list.
"It's clear there is an underline hypocrisy telling us the NBA is diverse, but when an opportunity comes the process isn't. All we want is a chance. As a black man, all we want is a fair opportunity to show we are just as qualified," a black NBA assistant GM said about the Bulls. https://t.co/bsGj703XQK
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) April 8, 2020