Sources – Bulls tabulate GM Nuggets Arturas Karnisovas to direct basketball operations


The Chicago Bulls hire Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas to become the franchise’s new executive vice president of basketball operations, sources told ESPN.

On Wednesday evening, the parties were finalizing contractual details of a multi-year agreement after offering the job to Karnisovas soon after completing a second round of interviews, sources said.

Karnisovas, 48, will replace John Paxson, who has directed the Bulls’ basketball operations since 2003. He will be responsible for hiring a new general manager and reshaping an entire organization that has left the playoffs at over the past two seasons.

The Bulls were taken with Karnisovas’ story for talent assessment and firm support from Nuggets Governor Josh Kroenke and basketball operations president Tim Connelly about his leadership, organization and ability to structure operations, sources said.

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Karnisovas had a long virtual interview with Bulls chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf – who heads the research – on Tuesday, sources said. On Wednesday, Michael Reinsdorf introduced Karnisovas to his father, Jerry, for further discussion and obtained the blessing of offering Karnisovas the job.

Reinsdorf completed its first round of virtual meetings on Wednesday after an interview with former Atlanta Hawks director Wes Wilcox, sources said.

Karnisovas’ diverse background in the game had drawn the attention of the Bulls from the start of this process, including his role in building the Nuggets into a competitor with Connelly and Kroenke. The Nuggets’ draft success included All-NBA center Nikola Jokic, guards Jamal Murray and Gary Harris and former center Jusuf Nurkic.

Karnisovas stopped at the front office and office of the Houston Rockets League and a career as a medal player in EuroLeague and Olympic medal. Karnisovas, originally from Lithuania, left home as a teenager to play college basketball at Seton Hall.

Karnisovas will be asked to reshape the Bulls’ front office, including hiring a new general manager and additional basketball operations and scouting posts, sources said.

Paxson is expected to play an advisory role and there will also be discussions with GM Gar Forman about his future with the organization, sources said.


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