Report: Bulls to interview Jazz GM Justin Zanik, Raptors and Heat executives less likely

Jazz general manager Justin Zanik
Otto Kitsinger/NBAE via Getty Images

The Bulls clearly have a type.

In its search for someone to replace John Paxson and Gar Forman in running basketball operations, Chicago has been connected to several executives who hold the No. 2 role in their current front office. Though the list of candidates is a moving target, here’s the latest update:

K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago:

The Bulls plan to interview Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas and Utah Jazz general manager Justin Zanik to head their basketball operations, sources told NBC Sports Chicago.

It’s looking less likely that the Bulls will interview either Raptors general manager Bobby Webster, who is in line for a new deal in Toronto, or Heat assistant general manager Adam Simon. The latter grew up in Miami and, beyond his strong ties to his hometown, is well respected by Heat president Pat Riley.  Both candidates are expected to be retained by their clubs.

While executive vice president John Paxson is expected to remain in an advisory role, he has made clear to ownership he will play as small or large a roll that the new hire desires. Ownership has conveyed this to potential candidates. In fact, the new hire will be allowed to assemble the front office infrastructure as he sees fit, including, ultimately, a decision on the coaching staff, sources said.

As candidates withdraw from the search, it seems the Bulls are sending a new message about the appeal of the job.

Paxson was reportedly going to retain power in the new setup. Management was reportedly set to implicitly encourage candidates to keep coach Jim Boylen. Both of those would be turnoffs.

Now, Chicago wants to convey that the new hire will have more autonomy.