11:32am: The Bulls have completed their interview with Karnisovas, sources tell K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, who notes (via Twitter) that the team wants to make a hire sooner rather than later.
9:27am: Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas is “the leader in the clubhouse” for the Bulls‘ open front office position, multiple sources tell Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Chicago is said to be seeking an executive who will have full authority on basketball decisions, and Karnisovas was named early in the search process as one of the club’s top candidates.
Other executives identified among the first wave of targets for the Bulls, including Pacers GM Chad Buchanan and Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, will remain with their current teams. That may be the case for Raptors GM Bobby Webster too. And while Chicago did conduct a video interview on Monday with Utah’s Justin Zanik, Goodwill suggests the Jazz seem “intent” on hanging onto their GM.
However, the Bulls received permission to speak to Karnisovas about their open position and reportedly have a video interview lined up with him for the middle of this week. As Goodwill explains, Denver’s GM has a strong draft record and has a good reputation for player development, which are two characteristics the Bulls are prioritizing in their search for a new basketball operations exec.
“(Bulls COO Michael Reinsdorf) wants someone who’ll surround himself with smart people, a great talent evaluator,” a source told Yahoo Sports. “There’s a need to get better in the player development department, too.”
Sources tell Goodwill that Reinsdorf wants someone who “has a presence publicly,” which would stand in contrast to the reticence of John Paxson and Gar Forman over the years. According to Goodwill, the Bulls are also looking to beef up their scouting staff, with Forman potentially moving from his general manager position to a scouting role.
Finally, sources confirm to Goodwill that Paxson – the team’s longtime head of basketball operations – will be “as involved or uninvolved” as the incoming hire wants him to be, as reports on Tuesday indicated. There’s an expectation that Paxson will move behind the scenes to an advisory role, but that’s still to be determined.