Bulls' head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has some important decisions to make, both in filling out his front office and on the future of coach Jim Boylen.
He's wasted no time starting on the former — Friday evening, a wave of reports linked several notable executives across the NBA to the Bulls. NBC Sports Chicago Bulls Insider K.C. Johnson reported Denver Nuggets assistant GM Calvin Booth, Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes and Magic assistant GM Matt Lloyd as targets for front office roles. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported 76ers assistant general manager Marc Eversley and Nuggets scout Pat Connelly as interview targets, as well.
While it hasn't been explicitly reported that all of these candidates are interviewing for the Bulls' GM job, Booth, Hughes, Lloyd and Eversley's current stations as assistant GMs make for an easy inference. None would likely leave their old jobs if not for a promotion.
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Mike Singer, who covers the Nuggets for the Denver Post and knows Karnisovas, recently appeared on the Bulls Talk Podcast to discuss Karnisovas' personality, philosophies and how he thinks he'll adjust to the new responsibilities bestowed upon him in Chicago.
Here's what Singer said on the possibility of Booth, specifically, leaving Denver to join his old co-worker's new front office:
I don't mean to be a buzzkill, but I would be very surprised if Calvin (Booth) left Denver to come to Chicago for a couple reasons.
First of all, he's very close with Tim Connelly, the Nuggets' president of basketball operations, they've worked together in a few capacities, both when Calvin was a player — throughout his 10-year career I think they crossed paths in Washington, and I think in New Orleans. I think he was a scout when Tim was there — so I think that they have long-time connections.
And I think, speaking to that presence, that persona, that personality, knowing both Arturas and Calvin, they're both a little bit reserved, they're both a little bit behind-the-scenes type guys who don't necessarily have a huge public persona, even in Denver, let alone the rest of the league. Obviously, well-respected and known throughout NBA circles, but if the Bulls are insistent on having someone who's a little bit more front-facing and a little bit more out there...
I've thought of this name I'm going to throw it out there, brace yourselves. I was thinking, what if they offered the job to Chauncey (Billups)? And I have no insight, I don't know if he is a viable candidate but obviously has a personality, obviously is well, well-known, more than just NBA circles, a household name — at least for NBA fans.
Plus, Booth could be up for a promotion in Denver. Singer added that because Karnisovas' reputation is one of stoicism, he could envision him pursuing someone with a grander public face for the GM role. Karnisovas will just have to weigh if it's worth the risk of bringing someone in, like Billups, with no front office experience.
Singer also offered a window into how Karnisovas might approach a decision on Boylen's future. As with the front office searches, expect Karnisovas to approach this decision with his trademark brand of thoroughness.
I believe Arturas is going to interview and talk to everyone in the organization who has a stake in this, and so, if there is a divide between the players and Boylen, Arturas is going to find out about it.
I can't assume how he's going to take that or receive that, but I can say that there was not a divide between the Nuggets players and coach Michael Malone. So if there is a gap or if there is something or a disalignment between Bulls players and Boylen, I would have to believe that that would raise some serious concerns for Arturas. If you're not behind your coach and fully invested, what really do you have?
So I would say use that as a blueprint, I think Arturas and Malone got along well, but it wasn't ultimately Arturas' call, it was Tim (Connelly)'s call... I don't know if Arturas is calling Malone and saying, 'Hey, can we implement this? Can we do that?' I don't think that was his role there. Here it is, so you guys are going to see firsthand him sort of grow in this role.
For what it's worth, Johnson reports that the "Bulls' focus is on building front office, not coach, for now."
Time will tell the rest.
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