Michael Reinsdorf Rumors
K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago joined the Mully & Haugh Show on Tuesday morning to discuss LaVine’s future. “The safe bet is still that Zach will return (to Chicago),” Johnson said. He offered that with a caveat though. “I’m just reporting what I was hearing at the Combine – and that is multiple people connected to other teams, agents, etc., the chatter at that Combine, the representation of that chatter is that Zach is very much in play,” Johnson said. “Now that said, the Bulls are still very confident in their ability to re-sign Zach LaVine. Michael Reinsdorf has said it. Arturas Karnisovas has said it. They still have the power to pay him more than any other franchise.”
“The fact that he’s going to look at other teams legitimately is serious,” Johnson said. “I think the fact that other teams are going to make an aggressive bid to get him is serious. And I think the fact that the Bulls are very confident that they’re going to retain him are all serious, are all simultaneously (true). It’s going to be a fascinating free agency in July.”
Still, there is speculation from rival executives whether or not the Bulls will extend LaVine the full maximum contract of five years and roughly $212 million. The public stances of Reinsdorf and Karnišovas suggest otherwise.
After years of front-office and coaching disarray, Chicago Bulls president and chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf hired Arturas Karnisovas in April 2020 to reshape his basketball operations and restore playoff contention. So far, the results are remarkable. Years of organizational missteps and mistrust faded fast, replaced with a fully functional first-place franchise. “When we hired Arturas, I was confident that he would help turn things around, but I can’t say I thought it would be this quickly,” Reinsdorf told ESPN. “There are no issues. There’s no drama. Just everyone wanting to get to the next level. It’s a good feeling.”
The Bulls have missed the playoffs in six of the past seven years, but that’s likely to change this spring. Reinsdorf believes the decision to hire Karnisovas amid the league’s shutdown delivered him an ability to expedite the organizational rebuild. “We hired Arturas at the beginning of COVID, when a lot of teams were in a holding pattern,” Reinsdorf told ESPN. “A lot of times, people come and clean house. He took the time to get to know people in our organization.”
Karnisovas and Donovan are among the frontrunners for Executive and Coach of the Year awards. Together, Reinsdorf has watched something within the Bulls that had been missing for years: The building of trust and relationships. Donovan’s been long considered peerless in his ability to connect with players and that’s turned into an immense part of All-Star guard Zach LaVine’s evolution in Chicago.