Marc Eversley

Central Notes: Bledsoe, Cavs, Boylen, Bulls

Like most other NBA head coaches who have been asked about players not yet in attendance at the league’s Orlando campus, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer was somewhat cagey on Sunday when asked about Eric Bledsoe‘s situation. However, as Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, Budenholzer sounded optimistic about his point guard, who recently tested positive for COVID-19.

“The NBA has protocols that I think are trying to keep us all in our best place, our safest, to have a positive experience,” Budenholzer said. “When he clears those and when there’s something new to share with you guys we will, but we do feel like he’s on the closer end of the spectrum (to returning) than the longer.”

According to Velazquez, the expectation is that Bledsoe will be able to rejoin the Bucks before they resume play on July 31, though it will likely take him a little more time to get up to full speed. George Hill and NBA G League MVP Frank Mason III figure to handle point guard duties until Bledsoe is ready to go.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Jason Lloyd of The Athletic explores how Dan Gilbert‘s decision to take Quicken Loans public could impact the Cavaliers, noting that there’s no indication Gilbert has any intention of selling the franchise. Within the story, Lloyd adds that the Cavs owner is “turning up the pressure” on the team to show improvement next season in the third year of its rebuild.
  • Bulls head coach Jim Boylen said last week that he’s encouraged by his relationship with the team’s new top executives (link via WGNTV.com). K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago takes a closer look at Boylen’s comments, noting that the head coach dined with Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley in Chicago earlier this month, and both execs have been watching the individual voluntary workouts taking place at the Advocate Center. Boylen’s status for 2020/21 remains unclear, but the longer the Bulls go without making any announcements, the more likely he seems to keep his job.
  • In a pair of articles for NBC Sports Chicago, Rob Schaefer looks at how Kris Dunn and Ryan Arcidiacono performed in 2019/20 and what sort of future the two guards might have with the Bulls. Dunn is a restricted free agent this fall, while Arcidiacono has a guaranteed salary for ’20/21 and a team option for ’21/22.

Bulls To Reopen Practice Facility On June 3

MAY 29: The Bulls won’t reopen their facility today, but have received the go-ahead to open their doors for individual workouts beginning next Wednesday, June 3, tweets K.C. Johnson. That’s the date that the city’s “phase three” plan begins for reopening following coronavirus closures.

According to Johnson (Twitter link), new Bulls execs Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley, who have been working remotely since being hired, are scheduled to be in Chicago soon.

MAY 27: The Mavericks will reopen their practice facility on Thursday, becoming the 23rd team to do so, and the Bulls appears likely to follow suit on Friday, becoming the 24th, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reports (Twitter link).

The franchise received clearance from the Governor’s office and is in discussions with the city on how to safely open the facility. Under league rules, the workouts are voluntary. Only four players at a time are permitted in the facility and no group activities such as practices or scrimmages are allowed.

Johnson adds that not many of the Bulls’ players are currently in Chicago. There’s also no guarantee that the Bulls will be included in the NBA’s return. The league is contemplating many scenarios and there’s some skepticism from teams that all franchises won’t be included.

The Celtics, Knicks, Pistons, Warriors, Spurs, and Wizards are the only remaining franchises with closed facilities.

Bulls’ Ownership Excited About New Front Office

The Bulls made some changes this offseason, bringing in Arturas Karnisovas to be the team’s head of basketball operations and Marc Eversley to be the new general manager. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf has high hopes for the newly-hired duo.

“I’m excited about these guys,” Reinsdorf told K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “In talking with Arturas and hearing what everyone else said about him, I was convinced we made the right decision. He’s not an egomaniac. He’s not shy. He seems balanced and basketball smart. That’s what I got out of the interview.”

Karnisovas is just the third person to hold the head of basketball operations title since Reinsdorf took over control of the team. Jerry Krause and John Paxson were the other two executives to run things in Chicago. However, unlike the previous hires, Reinsdorf didn’t lead the search and interview process; his son, Michael Reinsdorf, did.

“At the end of the day, my Dad, Jerry, is still the boss. So we had to have that final interview with my dad, and we did that over video. And it was clear after that meeting that we had our new head of basketball operations,” the younger Reinsdorf said in April. “I think what my Dad said to me after the meeting when we reconvened was: ‘I never thought you would find anyone as great as Arturas.’ So I knew we were done, and that night we were able to negotiate a deal with Arturas.”

Bulls’ Karnisovas, Eversley Leaning Toward Coaching Change?

While the Bulls aren’t saying much publicly about Jim Boylen‘s future, new executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley have received a “mixed bag of feedback” on Boylen and are believed to be leaning toward making a coaching change later this year, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.

As Cowley details, the Bulls’ owners and advisor John Paxson, who made Boylen the head coach in the first place, are in favor of retaining him and have told him as much. Karnisovas doesn’t want to “rock the boat” early in his tenure with the team, but he was promised full autonomy and is expected to be given the go-ahead if he wants to make a change.

According to Cowley, Boylen has spoken to both Karnisovas and Eversley on a regular basis since they were hired. However, the new Bulls execs have also been in frequent contact with players and others in the organization, and Cowley says that “several key players” have been critical of the head coach, who has a 39-84 (.317) record since taking the reins.

A source tells The Sun-Times that, with the evaluation period ongoing, both Boylen and Bulls players have been advised to avoid interviews about the coach’s standing with the team.

Although Boylen remains under contract beyond this season, his salary is believed to be modest, so financial considerations wouldn’t stand in the way of a change. It’s fairly common for new heads of basketball operations to bring in their own head coach within a year or two, so even if Boylen holds the job for now, that wouldn’t mean the franchise is committed to him long-term.

Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin and Sixers assistant Ime Udoka have been cited as head coaching candidates the Bulls may look at if they do replace Boylen.

Eastern Notes: LeBron, Celtics, Eversley, Pistons

Don’t rule out LeBron James finishing his career with the Knicks, The New York Post’s Marc Berman writes in his latest mailbag. James loves playing in Madison Square Garden and would like to play with his son Bronny, now 15, before he retires. If James plays long enough to suit up with his son, finishing out his career in New York could add to his legacy, Berman adds.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren told season ticket holders that the front office is well-prepared for any draft scenario, Celtics analyst Marc D’Amico tweets. Boston could have as many as three first-round selections. “Regardless of what happens, we’ll be very ready for the draft,” Zarren said.
  • New Bulls GM Marc Eversley is intrigued by the youth dotting the team’s roster but wants to figure why some of those players didn’t develop as expected this season, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reports. In particular, he wants to see if the team can get more out of power forward Lauri Markkanen. “Lauri is a modern-day stretch four,” he said. “I think he’s got a great stroke. He’s got a wonderful shooting touch. He regressed a little bit last year. I’d love to learn more about that.”
  • The Pistons need to prioritize not only acquiring talent but also high-character players, Keith Langlois of the team’s website writes. Getting the best players they can find with their lottery pick and cap space, regardless of what position they’ll play or how they’ll complement others on the roster, should be their approach going forward.

Bulls Notes: Eversley, Boylen, Griffin, Udoka

News that Marc Eversley would be the Bulls‘ next general manager broke very late on Sunday, at a time when the NBA news wire is typically quiet. Speaking today to reporters, including ESPN’s Eric Woodyard, executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas provided an explanation, saying he felt compelled to call Eversley on Sunday night after watching the third and fourth episodes of The Last Dance.

“I was so emotional watching it that I was thinking, ‘Why do I have to wait until Monday? Let me check if he’s up,'” Karnisovas said.

In explaining why he chose Eversley for the job, Karnisovas pointed to the veteran executive’s relationships with players and coaches, as Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Although Eversley has spent the last 14 years in NBA front offices, he began building those relationships during his decade at Nike before that, a fact he acknowledged during today’s call.

“Simply put, (the Nike background) was critical,” Eversley said, per Cowley. “Relationships move the needle in this business, and it really starts at the grassroots. I was fortunate enough to work at Nike at a time when LeBron James and players like that were coming up through the system. It really taught me the value of relationships. It taught me the value of a brand, really.

“It’s my hope that I can take some of the lessons that I’ve learned at Nike and implement them here with Chicago as a goal to get the Chicago Bulls back to relevancy and get that brand back to where it’s cool again and kids want to be part of it.”

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • One of the first major decisions Eversley and Karnisovas will make will involve the head coaching position, but it doesn’t sound like they’re in a rush to make a call on Jim Boylen. Eversley, who said Boylen called him to congratulate him earlier in the week, told reporters today that he and Karnisovas would assess the head coach and other staffers together, per Woodyard. “We owe it to everybody on staff to get to Chicago and meet them face-to-face,” Eversley said. “I think we owe it to our players to hopefully get to evaluate them in practice settings, in playing settings and we owe it to our staff to see them in those types of setting as well. I just think it’s far too early to make any of those types of decisions with respect to anybody on the staff until we get to Chicago.”
  • Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times stressed again this week that sources close to Boylen “paint the picture of someone who fully expects to be back next season.” However, Cowley also reiterated that there has been plenty of speculation linking the Bulls to Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin, who played college ball with Karnisovas at Seton Hall. A source told The Sun-Times that Everseley, a Canadian and former Toronto executive, remains on good terms with the Raptors.
  • In his own look at the coaching situation in Chicago, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic reports that “minor changes” are underway with the current staff, though Boylen continues to operate as if he’ll be back. Griffin and Sixers assistant Ime Udoka could be candidates for the head coaching job if the Bulls do make a change, according to Mayberry.

Bulls Officially Announce Marc Eversley As GM

As expected, the Bulls have officially hired former Sixers senior VP of player personnel Marc Eversley as their new general manager, announcing the news in a press release. Eversley’s agreement with Chicago was reported at the start of the week.

“I set out to find a general manager who complemented my vision and values, and who could help implement them at the Bulls in a fresh way. Marc’s background and skills do exactly that,” new executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said in a statement.

“(Eversley) has a history of building strong relationships across the board, identifying talent at organizations that have had success during his time there, and the necessary insight for building a network that will be an asset to our program,” Karnisovas continued. “He’s ready for this next step in his career, and I’m looking forward to working with him to build the Bulls back into a perennial contender.”

Eversley worked in the 76ers’ front office since 2016 and previously held positions in the Wizards’ and Raptors’ front offices, dating back to 2006. Prior to his 14 years as a team executive, he spent a decade working at Nike — first at Nike Canada and then at the company’s world headquarters in Oregon, where he was the NBA player relationship manager.

Eversley’s experience working and building relationships with NBA players is one important reason why the Bulls hired him. As we detailed on Tuesday, Eversley is expected to add instant credibility to a front office that hasn’t had a great reputation among players and agents in recent years.

With Karnisovas and Eversley installed in key roles and J.J. Polk and Pat Connelly also joining the Bulls’ new-look front office, the team may not feel a sense of urgency to continue making immediate changes. However, further tweaks to the front office are expected, with Nazr Mohammed among those who has interviewed for an unspecified role. The Bulls’ new top execs will also evaluate head coach Jim Boylen, who is reportedly confident he’ll be retained for the time being.

Chicago’s former general manager, Gar Forman, was let go by the team when Karnisovas came aboard.

Bulls Notes: LaVine, Eversley, Boylen

In a Q&A with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Bulls guard Zach LaVine said he he already spoken to newly-hired head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and GM Marc Eversley, and is “extremely excited to get to working with them.”

While Karnisovas has held his new position for a couple weeks, Eversley’s hiring was reported less than 36 hours ago and hasn’t yet been formally announced, so the fact that he has already touched base with LaVine suggests it was a top priority.

Asked about what he wants to see from the Bulls this offseason, LaVine – who has spoken since the suspension of the NBA season about how disappointed he was with the team’s on-court results – said he hopes that everyone is “willing and prepared to sacrifice” and is focused on getting better.

“I thought we approached this year like we were going to be good and we weren’t,” LaVine told Kennedy. “We didn’t have the chemistry, we didn’t have the right mindset. We got a little bit shocked; we thought we were going to do really well and we didn’t do well. We have to come back and prove people wrong.”

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • The hiring of Eversley adds instant credibility to the Bulls’ front office, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, who suggests that Eversley should help the franchise improve its reputation with players and agents around the NBA. One source who spoke to Cowley pointed to Eversley’s 10 years at Nike as a time when he gained experience building relationships with players across the league.
  • K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago makes a similar point in his own look at the hiring of Eversley, writing that the former Raptors and Sixers executive built strong relationships with DeMar DeRozan in Toronto and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia. Eversley’s investment in making those connections should benefit the Bulls, particularly in free agency, Johnson writes.
  • Within that story, Johnson also suggests that the hiring of Eversley “could take some responsibilities off (head coach Jim) Boylen‘s plate.” As Johnson explains, Boylen felt compelled to handle certain matters when former GM Gar Forman began to focus mainly on scouting prior to his dismissal. Of course, it remains to be seen whether Karnisovas will retain Boylen beyond this season, but there’s no indication that a coaching change is imminent.
  • Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic takes a more in-depth look at Eversley’s background, exploring why he emerged as the Bulls’ top choice during the GM interview process.

Bulls To Hire Sixers’ Marc Eversley As GM

Two weeks after formally hiring Arturas Karnisovas as their new executive VP of basketball operations, the Bulls have chosen a general manager who will work with Karnisovas in their new-look front office. The club is hiring Sixers senior VP of player personnel Marc Eversley to fill that GM role, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Eversley was one of several candidates to interview for the general manager position following Chicago’s hiring of Karnisovas and the team’s dismissal of longtime GM Gar Forman. Matt Lloyd (Magic), Mark Hughes (Clippers), and Michael Finley (Mavericks) were among the other executives known to have spoken to the Bulls about the job.

Before reaching a deal late on Sunday night to join the Bulls, Eversley worked in the 76ers’ front office since 2016, when he was hired by the club’s former head of basketball operations, Bryan Colangelo. Eversley, a Canadian, also previous worked under Colangelo in the Raptors’ front office, with a stint as a Wizards exec in between. Prior to his time in NBA team front offices, he spent a decade working at Nike, per Wojnarowski.

This was at least the second time Eversley had interviewed for a GM job, having lost out to Mitch Kupchak on the Hornets’ position in 2018. He was also believed to be a candidate to replace Colangelo as Philadelphia’s head of basketball operations that year, but Elton Brand ultimately took over GM duties.

As Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer details, Eversley was largely responsible for the Sixers zeroing in on Matisse Thybulle in last year’s draft and was also the first to recognize DeMar DeRozan‘s talent during his time in Toronto’s scouting department.

After the Bulls faced some criticism for a lack of diversity in their search for a head of basketball operations, Eversley will become the first black GM in team history, as Wojnarowski notes.

While Karnisovas and Eversley figure to run the show in Chicago’s revamped front office, the team is making additional changes. As previously reported, J.J. Polk and Pat Connelly are coming aboard in key roles — Woj suggests they’ll hold the titles of assistant GM and VP of player personnel, respectively. Meanwhile, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago says that more hires are likely coming, singling out Nazr Mohammed as one executive who interviewed for an “unspecified role.”

Bulls Receive Permission To Interview Three GM Candidates

Having officially hired Arturas Karnisovas as their new head of basketball operations, the Bulls are now in the market for a new general manager. With Karnisovas leading that search, the club has received permission to interview three candidates so far, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski, Chicago has been granted permission to speak to Sixers senior VP of player personnel Marc Eversley, Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes, and Magic assistant GM Matt Lloyd.

[RELATED: Bulls Part Ways With GM Gar Forman]

Those three executives were among the candidates initially identified by Wojnarowski for the job last Friday. At the time, Woj also said that Nuggets assistant GM Calvin Booth was a target, so his omission from today’s list is notable. There’s a belief that Denver will attempt to keep Booth after losing Karnisovas — he’s a candidate to be promoted to fill the Nuggets’ newly-opened GM role.

It remains to be seen whether Eversley, Hughes, and Lloyd are the Bulls’ top choices or whether the team’s search will continue to expand to include other candidates.

A source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link) that Heat assistant GM Shane Battier won’t be interviewing with the Bulls, since Chicago recognizes that Miami values him and won’t be letting him go. Cowley adds (via Twitter) that despite some chatter, Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon won’t be a candidate for the Bulls’ GM position either.

Cowley previously identified Mavericks VP of basketball operations Michael Finley and Thunder executives Troy Weaver and Nazr Mohammed as potential GM targets for Chicago. However, based on a subsequent report, it would be a surprise if Weaver has interest in the job.