The Bulls made a huge splash late Wednesday night when it was reported that they were in the midst of negotiations to make Arturas Karnisovas the new Bulls head of basketball operations. Bulls fans have had mostly positive reactions to the news and as we wait for further updates from the NBA as to the status of the league, we are finding out more and more about the intriguing background of Karnisovas.
On Thursday's Sports Talk Live, The Gazette Denver sports columnist Paul Klee was on with David Kaplan to help give Chicagoans a better idea of what to expect with Karnisovas.
Klee started off by acknowledging that the Bulls made a great move and immediately touted Karnisovas' ability to maintain relationships. "His strengths are his eye for talent and his networking abilities, everybody he knows in the game, not only here but in Europe. This is an icon in Lithuania that's managed to get the [Denver] Nuggets back from the ashes."
Indeed Karnisovas has been a part of the Nuggets steady rise from overachieving team to a consistent force in a particularly stacked Western Conference.
There has been much discussion among league sources about the potential of a restructured Chicago front office, something K.C. Johnson and Tom Haberstroh touched on in their most recent piece. In that story, a rival executive is quoted saying, “It’s not a good job...it’s a great job," in reference to becoming the new Bulls head of basketball operations.
Klee said, "this was a great opportunity and a job that I know personally, Arturas has had his eyes on." Karnisovas was actually a member of the 1992 Lithuanian national basketball team that finished with a bronze medal and put up a valiant effort against the Michael Jordan-led Dream Team and you can even find a photo of Karnisovas taking a picture of the Dream Team during the action.
There was obviously a level of respect and admiration for MJ's game from international hoopers and there is a strong possibility Karnisovas has been dreaming of working for the Bulls organization in some capacity for a long time. Regardless, Karnisovas' storied past as a big-time international basketball player, when combined with his reputation and record of doing things "his way," makes him a clear cut step in the right direction.
"He is not going to be a guy who is doing zoom calls with media all the time...that's not really his cup of tea. He's a more measured, reserved, thoughtful guy, watches the room and then he figures what move he's gonna make. If they were looking for a public face of the franchise, he's gonna point those cameras towards the locker room. He wants the players to be in front." Klee continued that Karnisovas isn't someone who is known to come out and make too many statements about his players, as he prefers to keep things close to the vest until he is absolutely sure of his next move.
"He likes to know that you know your stuff before he shares any of his," stated Klee. Karnisovas is slated to come into Chicago and immediately start to put his stamp on a completely revamped Bulls front office. And after 17 years of the John Paxson regime, Bulls fans are extremely excited to see what a different team-building process looks like. The Bulls have given Arturas Karnisovas the keys to the kingdom and all signs point to him confidently and aggressively bringing the Bulls back to prominence.
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