Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas didn’t make sweeping changes during his first offseason running the Bulls, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports. Thirteen of the 15 players who finished last season on Chicago’s roster are back for training camp.
Karnisovas has a philosophy that emphasizes building through the draft and player development, Johnson adds. He is also holding onto the $25-$30MM in cap space the Bulls project to have for next summer’s talented class of free agents.
“We were pretty happy with the roster that we had,” Karnisovas explained in a session with reporters. “We didn’t have a lot of wiggle room to work with. We added players that are versatile. We added some leadership, experience to the roster we already had and that was the mentality. And also preserving cap room for next summer and using this season to look at our roster and evaluate and see what the long-term goals will be following this season.”
There’s more from Chicago:
- Noah Vonleh was briefly in Denver with Karnisovas last season and could be a threat to earn a roster spot, Johnson states in the same story. Vonleh signed a non-guaranteed deal, and Karnisovas said he is “going to compete in training camp.” That may mean the Bulls are willing to waive a guaranteed contract such as Cristiano Felicio ($7,529,020) or Luke Kornet ($2.25MM).
- Free agent Garrett Temple, who was the team’s only free agent addition with a guaranteed contract, was added for his “versatility, experience, leadership. Those would be my three things on Garrett.” Karnisovas tells Johnson (Twitter link). He also said the organization will “make every effort” to work out an extension with Lauri Markkanen (Twitter link). Markkanen expressed strong interest in a new deal earlier in the week.
- Bulls players have already noticed a different atmosphere with Billy Donovan taking over for Jim Boylen as head coach, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Zach LaVine, who had numerous run-ins with Boylen during their time together, was among the players who commented on the change. “They’re showing their faces,” LaVine said of the new coaching staff. “I see them every morning. I get here around 8 o’clock and they’re already in the gym. They’re on the court with you. They’re talking to you about not just basketball, but personal life things. What things do you like to run? What don’t you like? They want you to be upfront. They’re willing to change and hear players’ opinions, so that’s something that’s been different than in the past.”