Arturas Karnisovas said some words.
For the first time in what feels like forever, the executive VP of basketball operations gave a formal interview. But don’t get too excited.
Karnisovas sat down with NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson to reflect on his experience playing Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls back in 1997 while a member of Greece’s Olympiacos. The conversation was a fun look into Karnisovas’ past, but it was undoubtedly a hard listen knowing that so many questions were going unanswered.
The Bulls (20-24) currently sit 10th in the Eastern Conference. This comes months after Karnisovas’ last interview where he made the organization’s goals and expectations clear. Chicago was supposed to improve on last year’s 46-win season and first-round exit. They don’t appear prime to do either, as things stand, which is exactly why the upcoming NBA trade deadline is so darn captivating.
Will Karnisovas stick to his word and make the necessary changes to try for a second-half surge? Or will he continue to reverse course in preparation for future seasons? He didn’t speak to any of it in his conversation with Johnson (and, to be fair, I’m assuming Johnson was told these kinds of questions were mainly off the table). All he gave us was a regurgitation of just how badly he wants to win:
“I’m really proud to be part of this. Chasing the success of this organization and trying to get to winning ways,” Karnisovas said on the Bulls Talk Podcast. “How we’re going to do it, when we’re going to do it, it’s still to be seen. But I enjoy the process with people that I work with. And I enjoy working for this ownership.”
He went on to follow those words with a similar sentiment as he signed off the interview, alluding to the team’s load of ugly losses:
“We deeply care about this organization and shoutout to the fanbase,” Karnisovas said. “We’re trying to do the best that we can. It’s not fun when we lose. I’m a very competitive person. That’s what you need to know. I don’t take those losses lightly and I get emotional just like you. We’re trying to turn this around.”
I guess that’s something?
While it still doesn’t clarify what we should expect over the next few weeks, I think it does at least signal that winning remains the short-term goal. And this has been the message of most recent reports.
Now, having said that, I guess he kinda sorta left the door open for some significant changes. The “how” and “when” the Bulls will win comment does raise an eyebrow, but he didn’t really elaborate enough for my reaction to be anything more than just that.
My hope is that this isn’t the only interview we get before a highly anticipated Feb. 9. Providing Bulls fans at least a little more of an idea of where the organizational philosophy currently stands would be much appreciated. Unfortunately, though, I’m not sure we’re going to get more from the tight-lipped front office.