Soon, he’ll take over Chicago’s basketball operations.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Chicago Bulls are finalizing a deal with Denver Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas to become the franchise’s new Executive VP of Basketball Operations, sources tell ESPN. Karnisovas will be tasked with hiring a new GM and reshaping the front office.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 9, 2020
With Karnisovas working under Tim Connelly, the Nuggets have drafted and developed well. Nikola Jokic was the biggest gem, but Denver has more than its fair share of success stories. Though it’s difficult to assign credit and blame from the outside, Karnisovas developed a reputation for his ability to connect with people around the world, scouting acumen and meticulousness.
In Chicago, Karnisovas inherits a team stuffed with high-variance young players. Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Coby White and Wendell Carter Jr. could all play central roles on the next good Bulls team. Or not. Each has shown flashes. None has proven himself. It’s on Karnisovas to identify who’s a keeper and how to proceed with the others.
Chicago has all its future first-round picks, including a high one in the upcoming draft. So, Karnisovas will have a big opportunity to put his stamp on the organization next offseason.
The Bulls could eventually become more of a force in free agency. Chicago is a large market. But drafting and development will be key to heading in the right direction.
It’s unclear how patient Bulls ownership will be. Fans – eager to be rid of the Gar Forman-John Paxson regime – will give Karnisovas ample opportunity to succeed. That can influence ownership.
Chicago’s search didn’t go completely smoothly. Other candidates opted to stay with their current teams. Questions emerged about whether the Bulls were giving potential black candidates fair treatment.
But Chicago got a respected executive, and Karnisovas got his first chance to run an NBA front office. This definitely could work out, though anytime someone ascends to a new position – especially a leadership role – there’s risk with the unknown.