Once Arturas Karnisovas formally assumes control of the Bulls‘ front office, he intends to hire a person of color to be the team’s general manager, a league source tells Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Goodwill’s story comes on the heels of a Wednesday report which indicated that black executives around the NBA were upset that all five candidates known to have interviewed for the top Chicago job were white, including a couple who had made racially insensitive comments in the past.
According to Goodwill, the Bulls requested permission during their search process to speak to Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver, who is black, but were denied. Chicago also tried to interview Raptors GM Bobby Webster, a Japanese-American, but didn’t receive permission from Toronto.
As K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets, the Bulls did hold an informal interview with former Chicago center Nazr Mohammed, who has worked in Oklahoma City’s front office. That interview wasn’t for the team’s top front office job though.
Bulls COO Michael Reinsdorf has made a series of diverse hires in the Bulls’ business operations department in recent years, per Goodwill, who hears that the younger Reinsdorf has spoken both publicly and privately about the importance of having a diverse staff.
Here’s more on the Bulls’ hiring of Karnisovas and on the Nuggets, who will lose their general manager:
- A source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times that longtime executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson will continue to be a “sounding board” for the Reinsdorfs going forward, but will only weigh in on basketball decisions if asked by Karnisovas.
- The Bulls’ front office search had its flaws, but the team ultimately landed on a very promising candidate in Karnisovas, opines Jon Greenberg of The Athletic.
- Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who previously worked with Karnisovas in Houston, praised the Bulls’ choice and told Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson) that he’s happy to see the veteran exec get a shot to run a team. “Arturas is one of the best executives in the NBA,” Morey said. “I’m so happy he is getting this opportunity. He was instrumental in our success. I’m also thrilled he’s in the East now!”
- Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly and team owner Josh Kroenke were “instrumental” in helping Karnisovas land the Chicago job, a source tells Mike Singer of The Denver Post. In a separate story for The Post, Singer spoke to former NBA player Jared Jeffries, who worked with Karnisovas for four years in Denver’s front office and called the Bulls’ decision to hire him a “no-brainer.”
- Karnisovas’ departure leaves the Nuggets with a hole in their basketball operations department, and Nick Kosmider of The Athletic suggests that assistant GM Calvin Booth may be a candidate for a promotion.