KC Johnson: One name to watch for role on Arturas Karni…

More on Bulls Front Office

Karnisovas, who was the only candidate to get multiple interviews the past few days – including a final conversation with chairman Jerry Reinsdorf – will be replacing John Paxson. A source said that Paxson will move into an advisory role, still being a sounding board for the Reinsdorfs — Jerry and Michael — and would only offer opinions in basketball matters if Karnisovas asks. This is completely Karnisovas’ show, and an important one.
Karnisovas will have full decision making over basketball operations, including the futures of Forman, head coach Jim Boylen, and the entire coaching staff. He was even asked about Paxson, and had the option of having the organization move on from the long-time Bulls executive if that’s what he desired. However, a source indicated that Karnisovas had no issues with the Reinsdorfs keeping Paxson around.
There were multiple reports that the search angered a handful of African American executives around the league, who felt like people of color weren’t involved in the searching process by the Bulls. A source close to the situation, however, indicated that not only did Michael Reinsdorf reach out to multiple minority candidates to try and get interviews – but was denied permission to do so by their current organizations, and in some cases simply turned down.
Jordan's original team, the Chicago Bulls, is looking for a GM of its own, and Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie publicly lobbied for the job on Wednesday through Twitter. That didn't just mean a statement of interest, though. Dinwiddie took things to the next level with an incredible 11-tweet thread detailing every step of his master plan to turn the Bulls into championship contenders.
Here is an incomplete list of moves he would try to make: Trade Tomas Satoransky to the Nets for himself so that he could be his own starting point guard for the Bulls. Sign with Klutch Sports in an attempt to curry enough favor for Rich Paul to convince Chicago-native Anthony Davis to join the Bulls in an offseason sign-and-trade. Thaddeus Young, Cristiano Felicio, Wendell Carter Jr. and a first-round pick would go to the Lakers. Use a sweetener to dump Luke Kornet and Ryan Arcidiacano in order to create the cap space to sign Moe Harkless. Sign another 3-and-D veteran, ideally Terrence Ross or Marcus Morris. Where that cap space comes from is unclear.
It’s one reason why, despite the Bulls’ rebuild currently being stuck in neutral and a largely disgruntled fan base, such potential still exists for Karnisovas. Chicago is a major market. The history of the franchise is rich. The facilities are top-notch. Intriguing young players dot the roster. And the Bulls’ books are largely clean with all of their first-round picks intact. “It’s not a good job,” one rival executive told NBC Sports. “It’s a great job.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: 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. Patrick Beverley: Very Good for the city!!!
The sides were finalizing contractual details on a multiyear deal late Wednesday night, after the team offered the job to Karnisovas shortly after completing a second round of interviews, sources said. Karnisovas, 48, will replace John Paxson, who has been running the Bulls' basketball operations since 2003. Karnisovas will be tasked with reshaping the totality of an organization that has failed to reach the postseason the past two seasons, including hiring a new general manager and additional basketball operations and scouting positions, sources said.
The Bulls were taken with Karnisovas' history for talent evaluation and strong endorsements from Nuggets governor Josh Kroenke and president of basketball operations Tim Connelly about Karnisovas' leadership, organization and ability to structure operations, sources said. Karnisovas had a lengthy virtual interview with Bulls chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf, who is leading the search, on Tuesday, sources said. On Wednesday, Reinsdorf introduced Karnisovas to his father, Jerry, for additional discussions and got Jerry's blessing to offer Karnisovas the job.
KC Johnson: Confirming that Bulls are negotiating a deal to make Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas their next head of basketball operations, per source. 1st with news was @wojespn. As previously reported, this hire will work to build out organizational infrastructure, including a GM.
The Chicago Bulls’ search for a new head of basketball operations continued Wednesday with more potential candidates revealed. None of them were African American. The reaction from a handful of NBA’s black executives, who spoke to The Undefeated on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely on the topic, was disappointment and frustration.
None of the aforementioned Bulls candidates are of African American descent, which is troubling in a league that is about 75% black. Sources say Bulls COO and president Michael Reinsdorf, who has been conducting virtual interviews, had not spoken to any black potential candidates as of Wednesday morning. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that Karnisovas is the leading candidate. “They are not even hiding what they are doing,” one black NBA general manager said of the Bulls.
The Bulls hope to have the first part of the hiring process finalized sooner than later, sources said, particularly since the new hire will be granted authority to build out the front office's infrastructure. Utah Jazz general manager Justin Zanik interviewed for the position on Monday.
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 vice president of basketball operations, sources told ESPN. Conversations with Karnisovas and Bulls officials are continuing Wednesday, sources said.
KC Johnson: Bulls have interviewed Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas for lead executive position, per sources. As previously reported, Bulls hope to have process finalized sooner than later.
Front office stability has been a gift and curse for the Chicago Bulls, a marquee franchise that’s finally beginning to act like it. Team President and COO Michael Reinsdorf, son of managing partner Jerry Reinsdorf, has taken more of a leading role in the last couple of seasons and is spearheading the search to hire a new top basketball executive. Multiple sources tell Yahoo Sports Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas is the leader in the clubhouse. Karnisovas has a strong draft record and is known to be good in player development, two of the bullet points the Bulls have earmarked for their next top basketball executive.
Paxson has been involved in the implementation of the search and restructuring of the organization. He’s a favorite of Jerry Reinsdorf, having been a player on championship teams, a broadcaster and now, as executive vice-president. Sources say he’ll be as involved or uninvolved as the new head of basketball operations wants him to be, and it hasn’t been a deterrent in the search, given the awkward nature on its face.
The coincidence in the Bulls’ search for a new head of basketball operations isn’t as much that Zanik interviewed Monday and is considered a finalist for the job. It’s that Josh Paxson and Kevin O’Connor enjoy a respectful professional relationship, and the family ownership structures and philosophies of the Jazz and Bulls are similar. The Reinsdorfs, like the leaguewide perception of Jazz ownership, are known for running the business side and letting basketball operations do their jobs.
The Reinsdorfs are known for their loyalty and Paxson, along with Gar Forman, who has held the general manager title since 2009, has headed basketball operations for 17 years. But the perception that Paxson will be some hovering presence, going kicking and screaming into the night, is simply wrong. Early this season, Paxson communicated his vision to ownership for a new-look, more modern front office. He initiated some of this need for change.
John Paxson isn’t just trying to play good soldier and say the right thing. The Bulls vice president of basketball operations isn’t wired that way. The Sun-Times was told by a source on Tuesday that not only is Paxson all for stepping aside from his position and acting more as an adviser to the Reinsdorf family when the front-office restructure is finalized, but would even completely step down from the organization if the Reinsdorfs and the new-look executive group deemed it better for the rebuild to continue.
The source insisted that Paxson was ready for either scenario, wanting what was best for the franchise. And not in a martyr way, just saying what he feels everyone wants to hear. Paxson’s patience has been pushed to the limit the last few seasons, especially when it comes to the perception by outsiders of the job he’s done.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Utah Jazz GM Justin Zanik did a video interview with the Chicago Bulls today for the franchise's Executive VP of Basketball Operations opening, sources tell ESPN. Denver Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas will interview with Bulls mid-week.
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.
The Chicago Bulls are making changes at the top, having reportedly launched a search to replace long-time executive vice president John Paxton and general manager Gar Forman. And the Dallas Mavericks may have a top-notch candidate. "Michael Finley would be amazing in that role,'' Mavs owner Mark Cuban tells DallasBasketball.com. "Fin has had a huge impact on the Mavs. ... Amazing.''
Shams Charania: Sources: Pacers GM Chad Buchanan has decided to stay in Indiana and decline interview for Chicago’s top basketball operations position. Buchanan expressed appreciation and positivity about Bulls, but he and his family have been treated well in Indianapolis and opted to remain.
KC Johnson: Michael Reinsdorf’s goal is to build front office depth. Buchanan dropping off target list doesn’t change that. Bulls still hope to interview Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas, Raptors GM Bobby Webster, Heat asst GM Adam Simon with understanding final hire could make additional hires
With longtime tandem John Paxson and Gar Forman expected to be reassigned from their respective roles as executive vice president of basketball operations and general manager, the Bulls, led by president and COO Michael Reinsdorf, have zeroed in on four preliminary executives across the league. Sources tell The Athletic they are Toronto GM Bobby Webster, Denver GM Arturas Karnisovas, Indiana GM Chad Buchanan and Miami vice president of player personnel and assistant general manager Adam Simon.
More could be added to the mix, but the Bulls, sources say, will not pursue Toronto president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri or longtime Oklahoma City exec Sam Presti, marquee names some fans hoped the team’s frustrated ownership would present with a blank check. The team also will not look to high-powered player agents, an increasingly trendy approach and one that rules out Chicago-based Priority Sports founder Mark Bartelstein as a possible candidate.
The report mentioned Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas and Toronto GM Bobby Webster as two candidates to be interviewed, but a source told the Sun-Times on Friday that a lot of Reinsdorf’s focus has also been on Miami – not only in their front office personnel like vice president of basketball operations Adam Simon, but also mimicking the structure, as well as scouting several of their players that will enter free agency.
KC Johnson: Bulls also will seek permission to interview Heat asst. GM Adam Simon, per source. Initial round of interviews centered on Nuggets’ Karnisovas, Raptors’ Webster, Pacers’ Buchanan and Heat’s Simon. Other targets could emerge, but longshot scenarios of Presti/Ujiri won’t happen
Chicago ownership has discussed the plan with Executive VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson and GM Gar Forman, sources said. Paxson is likely to continue in an advisory role with the franchise; there are expected to be more ownership conversations with Forman about his future too, sources said.
The Bulls are planning to talk with several possible candidates to lead the franchise and plans to have a new leadership well before any possible resumption of play during the NBA's shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. Interviews will start next week and will be conducted electronically, sources said.
But it was behind the scenes that Forman started to misplay his hand. He quickly gained the reputation as a guy that was paranoid, turning his focus to keeping his job rather than doing his job. That meant inserting “spies’’ throughout the entire organization, as the Sun-Times documented back in 2017 with then assistant GM/coach Randy Brown being identified as one of many. Brown denied the allegation to the paper, but former Bull Rip Hamilton came out days later and confirmed the suspicions around Brown.
But it was behind the scenes that Forman started to misplay his hand. He quickly gained the reputation as a guy that was paranoid, turning his focus to keeping his job rather than doing his job. That meant inserting “spies’’ throughout the entire organization, as the Sun-Times documented back in 2017 with then assistant GM/coach Randy Brown being identified as one of many. Brown denied the allegation to the paper, but former Bull Rip Hamilton came out days later and confirmed the suspicions around Brown.
The only person I still have respect for in the Bulls organization is Doug Collins. I believe he should be used to find a new general manager and get a real NBA coach. Do you think there is any hope of this happening? — Tom H. According to multiple sources, Collins and Boylen had a falling out. Boylen, the sources said, no longer wanted Collins sitting in on coaches’ meetings. Collins is in the background for now.
And it also should be noted that the Bulls historically have not operated as a big-spending franchise when it comes to management. It would take upwards of $9 to $10 million to even get Presti to the negotiating table. The sniffing around I’ve done on this story leads me to believe that that’s not a route the Bulls plan to take. Things can change, and this process is a fluid one. But my educated guess is the Bulls will hire multiple people for a restructured front office and spend their money that way.
Daniel Greenberg: According to @thekapman on ESPN 1000: Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti is the Chicago Bulls number 1 target. Kaplan: "That's the guy they want. They are prepared to pay him what it takes."
The Bulls are planning changes to their management structure this offseason and have spent weeks gathering input on potential additions for what one source described as “an empowered presence.” And while a team source insisted the process is in the early stages, multiple league sources indicated one name is gaining momentum---Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan.
Buchanan is widely known for his embrace of analytics. If the Bulls ask for and receive permission to interview Buchanan, his longstanding working relationship with Pritchard would seemingly indicate an ability to mesh with Bulls executive vice president John Paxson. As previously reported, ownership still values Paxson’s leadership and vision for the direction of the franchise. Paxson long has publicly stated he's willing to accept any role the franchise thinks is best for the Bulls.
Here’s a list of some potential problem-solvers for the Bulls to look at: • Mark Bartelstein: The former investment banker turned super agent founded Chicago-based Priority Sports and Entertainment, which represents 24 NBA first-round picks. Bartelstein has represented stars such as Bradley Beal, Gordon Hayward and Kyle Lowry. And with franchises such as the Lakers, Warriors and now the Knicks going the way of adding an agent to their front office, Bartelstein makes sense.
According to several NBA executives, the Bulls are in the early stages of adding a new face to the front office, with the position defined as a general manager “with a louder voice.’’ One executive said the talks with candidates have been through back channels, with no formal interviews taking place, but the search is believed to be widespread.
Chicago Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf has been gathering background on potential candidates to take over the franchise's basketball operations, sources confirmed to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The John Paxson-Gar Forman front office leadership structure is unlikely to continue in its current form beyond this season, sources say.
According to several NBA executives, the Bulls have started the early stages of adding a new face to the front office, with the position defined as a general manager “with a louder voice.’’ One executive did say that the talks the Bulls have had with candidates have been through back channels, with no formal interviews taking place, but the search is believed to be wide-spread.
This would be in-line with a Sun-Times report back in November, in which the newspaper wrote that general manager Gar Forman’s job security was taking on water, with the organization’s senior advisor Doug Collins the loudest voice in a needed change. Collins has never been a big fan of Foreman’s, starting with questioning Forman for the hiring of Fred Hoiberg.
The hope for Paxson is this new hire will take over the media duties, allowing him to slip into the background. As for Forman, he is not expected to be fired, but reassigned into a scouting position, as the team is also looking to build up that department. The Bulls have long been known for having a small scouting department, and they plan on an expansion this spring.
KC Johnson: Butler: I got faith in (Bulls) management. They have a lot of young talent.
Paxson also said he isn’t going to dwell on his own job security. “I never worry about that,’’ Paxson said. “I communicate with Jerry and Michael [Reinsdorf], and they know where my head is at, my heart is at and what I’m trying to do. Look, that’s a what-if, and I’m not working on a what-if.’’
Joe Cowley: Paxson on concerns of his own job security: “I never worry about that,’’ Paxson said. “I communicate with Jerry and Michael [Reinsdorf], and they know where my head is at, my heart is at, and what I’m trying to do. Look, that’s a what if, and I’m not working on a what if.’’
Jerry Reinsdorf might be waking up — and not in the best of moods. According to several sources, the Bulls chairman is livid about the team’s 6-12 start this season and the continued sinking profile of the organization and is beginning to focus on general manager Gar Forman. The sources indicated this is not a recent change of heart for Reinsdorf, and that his unhappiness has been building after several questionable decisions.
Besides the Hoiberg issue, an ongoing mistrust between Bulls players and Forman, and a rebuild that still isn’t paying off in its third year, a source said Forman acted aloof toward a handful of former Bulls players in attendance last week when the team honored two-time All-Star forward Luol Deng, who retired last month.
That said, a source emphasized that nobody’s job is in imminent jeopardy, including Forman’s. Remember: Executive vice president John Paxson reclaimed his more central role as the face of the franchise and lead decision-maker with the Butler trade. Forman’s power within the organization isn’t what it once was, though ownership still values his scouting and negotiating ability.
John Paxson believes there is a path out of the basement, and even beyond mediocrity for this roster. The Bulls vice president of basketball operations made that crystal clear last week in his end-of-the-season address with the media at the Advocate Center. And while the line of skeptics is a long one, this is a front office that often tunes out doubt and criticism better than most organizations around the league. So when Paxson was asked just how this roster would be capable of that – especially void of a true superstar – that front office optimism was again on full display.
“The first part of that is through the draft and to get relevant again,’’ Paxson said, in explaining how the Bulls plan to build an elite roster. “I’m not ruling out Zach LaVine or Lauri Markkanen being significant players in this league. Zach just turned 24 and I thought Zach had a really good year, a really good year. He grew in a lot of ways where I think he’s going to get better. Lauri’s just still a young guy. As I’ve mentioned many times, the internal growth of our guys is a key part of that.’’
If that doesn’t happen, however, Paxson still sees a path. “I do believe when we establish winning again, that this city is a draw, that this organization is a draw,’’ Paxson said. “But that’s down the road. That’s why we made the deal at the trade deadline for Otto [Porter]. We felt that was a significant piece to becoming a much better basketball team. Over that stretch where we had him and we healthy, we were playing at a level that I could see us playing at in the future. So we’re trying to build toward what you’re talking about.’’
Joe Cowley: VP of basketball operations John Paxson will put the bow on this season today with a final media session. No Gar Forman of course. Expect little news to come out of it, considering Pax did a state of the union address in February. #wheresGar
Michael Reinsdorf: I would say it does go back into basketball operations. We’re always spending money to improve what we do from the basketball side. It’s why we made the decision to build the Advocate Center across the street from the United Center. That was over a $30 million construction. It’s why we have full-time physical therapists on the staff, why we’ve added additional trainers, why we add full-time nutritionists. We added a sports performance coach. We added Doug Collins. It’s why we’ve added to our analytics department the last couple years.

https://twitter.com/KCJHoop/status/1095764315704098816

https://twitter.com/KCJHoop/status/1095777133102878720
When did you first learn of the trade to Washington and what was your initial reaction? Bobby Portis: "It’s been a crazy two weeks. On Sunday [before the trade deadline], I was seeing rumors and stuff on Twitter and Instagram so I called my agent. I asked him, “Am I in trade talks?” My agent immediately called Gar Forman, who is the GM of the Bulls. Gar Forman said, “No, it would have to be a blockbuster trade. If we were getting [a superstar like] LeBron James or Kevin Durant, then yeah, we’d trade Bobby. But [otherwise], no, we’re not trading Bobby.” So Tuesday comes around and I’m at a G-League game when my agent called me. He said he got a call from Gar and [Bulls VP of Basketball Operations] John Paxson and they were asking questions like, “Does Bobby really want to be here? Does Bobby love being a Bull? Is he fine with his role?” I’ve been having a good year and I guess they were trying to see if I still wanted to be in Chicago. And, obviously, my answer was yes. Who doesn’t want to play for the great city of Chicago? Who doesn’t want to play at United Center and be a Bull?"
Bobby Portis: "On Wednesday, [I’m thinking], “I know for sure that I’m going to be a Bull after the deadline.” We had a game that night, so I went through my pregame routine, got taped, put my jersey on and sat in the locker room. Twenty-three minutes before the game started, one of the coaches told me that our head coach, Jim Boylen, wanted to talk with me. I walked into his office and I see Gar, Pax and Coach Boylen. They told me that they had agreed in principle to trade me. I asked, “Where am I going?” Then, they were hesitant to say. They finally said the Wizards. My heart dropped. My stomach dropped. I didn’t know what to think. I went back to the locker room and I was just hugging everybody, shaking everyone’s hand. Everybody was in shock because nobody knew I was going to be traded. That wasn’t even a thought anyone had considered because they loved me there. It was a crazy feeling. Then, my phone started going haywire, so I guess that’s when the news dropped and everybody found out."
I saw some of your tweets after the deal and I could tell you were upset with how this played out. Did the fact that the front office said you wouldn’t be dealt make it hurt more? Bobby Portis: "Yeah, it really hurts. They told me how much they valued me – that I was part of our core and that I was in the long-term plans. They told me how much they loved my energy, my heart, how hard I worked, how much I loved playing for the Bulls. Them telling me that I’m going to be there [through the deadline] and telling me that they want to work things out this summer [in restricted free agency]. We weren’t able to agree to a contract extension [before the Oct. 15 deadline], but they said they wanted to agree to something this summer before free agency hits. I think back on everything they told me. All this stuff was said and then I don’t even get notified when I’m getting traded? (pause) It’s just a crazy feeling. I guess I’m getting my first taste of the business. Business is business, I guess. I just don’t think it was done the right way."
Payne never made excuses for his erratic play. But he felt the fans’ love for Gibson, coupled with their subsequent disappointment in watching him be traded away, played a sizable role in how he was perceived from the start. “It was huge just because that was their guys,” Payne said of Gibson and McDermott. “Those were the fans’ guys. The fact that I come in and nobody knows me because I haven’t really played. And the way Gar and them portrayed me to be just the next greatest thing — you know. I mean, I’m a young guy. I haven’t played that many games. I’ve got to play to get comfortable also. So I feel like that’s all it was. And I came in on a playoff team. So it was also tough there. It’s just a tough situation.”
"We were all on board with (signing Parker)," said Paxson. "That's all in the past. We're not even going to worry about that. With the situation the way it is, we'll look and see if Jabari gets an opportunity. This thing will be fluid. We have a month until the trade deadline. A lot can happen. We feel really good about getting something done a month early. It's all in building a team. Given where we were at and where we are at today, trying to roll the dice on a young talent (like Parker) is not a bad thing. A lot of teams have had success doing that. The one thing that we continue to do and we think we're on the right track with is if something doesn't work, it's not going to be a long-term issue for us. We'll continue to operate that way."
Storyline: Bulls Front Office
More HoopsHype Rumors
July 23, 2021 | 5:30 pm EDT Update
Less than a decade and a half later, the 39-year-old Green has become an NBA head coach, with New Orleans making the hire official Thursday. A key reserve for the 2010-11 playoff-qualifying Hornets, Green is the first ex-New Orleans player to also serve as head coach with the franchise. Former ’10-11 teammates of Green say the news of his hire came as no surprise to them. “He was always dependable, one of those guys who are just rock-solid on your team,” Jason Smith said of Green. “He was the same way every day, so consistent. As a teammate, you could go to him and he knew pretty much everything and anything about the game, on and off the court.”
Okafor remembers Green having a coach-like influence on him during the ’10-11 season – even though Green is only 14 months older than Okafor. “He was big on giving words of encouragement that were uplifting,” Okafor said of conversations with Green. “He always came to me (before games) and said, ‘Hey Mek, with this (Hornets) team, the more energy you have, the better you do and the better the team does. When you do well, we all do well.’ He’d be in my ear about that.”
July 23, 2021 | 5:17 pm EDT Update