The Bulls are on the cusp of officially naming just their third head of basketball operations since Jerry Reinsdorf and a group of investors purchased the team in 1985.
So, who is Arturas Karnisovas? That's a question at the front of many Bulls fans' minds as they picture a brighter future for an organization currently mired in a meandering rebuild.
NBC Sports Chicago Bulls Insider K.C. Johnson has spent time getting to the bottom of that very question.
From Johnson, when asked his impressions of Karnisovas on the latest Bulls Talk Podcast:
What I would say is three things have stood out in, really, every conversation I've had about him. These three themes have jumped out.
He's a very inclusive person. He seeks collaboration and input from a wide variety of people. He grew up in the Houston Rockets franchise, Daryl Morey is big on that concept as is Tim Connelly in Denver, so he's kind of known that with his other front office structures. Which is why I'm excited to see who he brings with him, because I think there's potential to really modernize this Bulls front office, which frankly has lagged behind today's modern NBA for some time now.
And the other two things that jump out consistently with literally every conversation I've had about him are his international relationships and connections. I mean he knows basically everybody, seemingly, in the basketball world. He could walk into any gym in any country and feel comfortable. And that extends beyond the Lithuanian aspect, I mean, he ran Basketball Without Borders for the NBA, so he could go into a gym in Africa and, you know, get a shoutout from somebody. He just seems like he's somebody who's very comfortable in his own skin.
And then, the last thing that I think is important about him is his organizational detail. Tim Connelly is very known around the NBA for being a really frenetic presence, a really energetic and kind of — I don't want to say chaotic, because that sounds negative and it's not — I mean, he's just a very fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants, bounce things off the wall kind of thing. And it's been successful, I'm not being critical, he's an incredible executive. My point is Arturas was kind of the stoic, behind the scenes organizer and Tim Connelly has said this on the record, so, I mean, I think the fact that you have somebody who's detail-oriented and an organizer, especially if he surrounds himself with the right people, could bode well for the Bulls moving forward.
Indeed, Karnisovas is one of the most well-respected veteran executives in the league. After playing collegiately at Seton Hall, enjoying a decorated professional career overseas and making two Olympics appearances, he worked for the NBA league office on international projects and as an international scout for the Rockets before moving to the Nuggets. The Nuggets promoted Karnisovas to general manager in 2017 after he had interviews for the Bucks and Nets' general manager positions.
Now, the keys to the Bulls are his, with impending decisions on subsequent hires in the front office and coaching staff looming. By all accounts, his aptitude and reputation should inspire optimism.