It was easy to continue to applaud the aggressiveness Friday of Arturas Karnisovas, the Bulls’ newly minted executive vice president of basketball operations.
The face of the front-office restructuring hadn’t even officially been announced to the media, but that didn’t stop him from expanding the structure of an organization that had fallen way behind the times.
Early in the day, news broke that Karnisovas had grabbed salary-cap specialist — and Illinois grad — J.J. Polk away from the Pelicans and handed him the title of assistant general manager. A good get? Make that a great get. The cap consigliere had been with the Pelicans the last 10 years and was highly praised by executive David Griffin.
By late afternoon, Karnisovas struck again, reportedly landing player-personnel guru Pat Connelly from the Nuggets. Connelly also served as an assistant general manager in Phoenix before making the jump to Denver.
By dinner time, Karnisovas was moving on a list of candidates for general manager. Sources said the Thunder’s Troy Weaver and Nazr Mohammed were in play, as well as the Mavericks’ Michael Finley, the Nuggets’ Calvin Booth, the Magic’s Matt Lloyd and the 76ers’ Marc Eversley.
In assessing that group, one executive said Booth might be the most ready — but also the hardest to lure with the Nuggets willing to promote him into Karnisovas’ old position.
Mohammed could be the one who really excels in a few years but has the least experience.
So what does all this mean for Bulls GM Gar Forman and his future with the organization? Not much yet.
All indications are that Karnisovas will have the final say on keeping Forman as a scout or letting him go, but that has yet to be fully discussed.
Even further down the list is coach Jim Boylen. Karnisovas is getting his front-office personnel in place before making a final decision on moving on from Boylen or allowing him another season to show what he can do with a healthy roster.
There was growing smoke around former Bulls assistant coach and current Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin emerging as the head guy to possibly replace Boylen, but as of Friday, it was more speculation worth monitoring than fact.
Meanwhile, almost lost with how quickly and fluidly this Bulls restructuring has gone down in the last 24 hours is team president Michael Reinsdorf.
The decision to completely reboot the front office didn’t take place overnight, and that’s likely why so many fans were growing impatient with the younger Reinsdorf since he rose to power three years ago.
But he always had his eye on getting to the basketball side of the product after immersing himself in the business side of the organization.
Reinsdorf has been doing his due diligence for more than a year and privately said that when the time came to act, money would not be an issue.
A source said that Karnisovas didn’t come cheap from Denver, but the negotiation was never even an issue. It’s a sign of how things have changed with Bulls ownership, especially in light of the reputation chairman Jerry Reinsdorf had earned as a tough negotiator.