Arturas Karnisovas Rumors
In an interview with Bilic, agent Misko Raznatovic said client Nikola Jokic came close to signing with FC Barcelona before moving to Denver. “There is a little-known story that Nikola was about to sign a contract with Barcelona,” Raznatovic said. “They followed him for a long time and came for the the final negotiations and also to watch a game in Sremska Mitrovica. Before the game, we have almost agreed in detail to the conditions of the transfer and we were going to work on the rest of details after the game. That evening, Nikola played his worst game since he came to Mega (Leks). Everything was more than terrible, and Barcelona took some extra time shaken by the whole situation. Negotiations continued and, meanwhile, (Nuggets assistant GM) Arturas Karnisovas insisted on his arrival in Denver and Nikola found himself in the NBA. In a word, he was not destined to play in Barcelona.”
GM Tim Connelly and his staff came on board in 2013, but there has to be something in the DNA of the Nuggets organization that has allowed the team to identify quality foreign players that other teams have missed. It’s even more impressive when you consider how interconnected the world of basketball has become since the turn of the century, when the Spurs drafted Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. “It’s hard to find a guy somewhere that nobody knows,” said Arturas Karnisovas, the Nuggets assistant GM. “These days, with social media, it’s hard to miss a guy.”
A general manager can have a player’s entire career on his laptop in a matter of seconds. The problems teams had with international scouting in the last generation have inverted. Instead of having too little information, now there’s too much. If the draft is all about finding needles in a haystack, there’s more hay than ever before. “Your list of contacts in each region has to be profound because players nowadays are coming from anywhere,” Karnisovas said. “You have to know people, from coaches to GMs to agents. You have to be familiar with all the layers.”
The biggest advantage the Nuggets have is the familiarity of their front office with the international game. Connelly was a longtime international scout, and Karnisovas was one of the greatest players in European history before starting a career in management. They still travel overseas regularly, but their man on the ground in Europe these days is Rafal Juc, a 24-year-old from Poland who has quickly made a name for himself in the industry. “Rafal is the most popular man in Europe. He’s really well connected around the continent,” said Elan Vinokurov, the president and owner of EV Hoops, a scouting and consulting service used by NBA teams. “He has established himself at a young age. When he talks about a player, you sit up and take notice.”
The Nets will work hard to convince Marks to take the job, but three other candidates – including Denver Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas, two-time NBA executive of the year Bryan Colangelo and Houston vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas – could still re-emerge in the process.