There was a clear “next step’’ in the Arturas Karnisovas regime.
The newly hired Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations made that very evident Monday, when he was officially introduced to his new post.
“My next step is to hire a GM,’’ Karnisovas said in the teleconference. “This process is going to be extensive and diverse.
“I was telling [COO] Michael [Reinsdorf] that I have an advantage over him in terms of hiring the right person because personally I know most of those guys in this industry. Over the years my role in scouting and the front office, I got to know them, and the list is very extensive. The talent pool is great, and I will explore all the options. I believe I will hire the best person for the job.’’
Considering the footprint that Karnisovas already has made less than a week on the job, don’t bet against him.
By all accounts, the early list of general-manager candidates is loaded with quality choices, led by Marc Eversley (Sixers), Michael Finley (Mavericks), Mark Hughes (Clippers), Troy Weaver (Thunder), Calvin Booth (Nuggets) and Matt Lloyd (Magic).
ESPN reported on Tuesday that Eversley, Hughes and Lloyd all were granted permission to interview this week with the Bulls.
Booth is believed to be on his way to being promoted to the vacancy that Karnisovas left with the Nuggets, while the Bulls still were waiting to know the exact interest Finley and Weaver have in the interview process and if permission would be granted.
Other names out there include Shane Battier (Heat) and Nazr Mohammed (Thunder). Mohammed has had several informal conversations with the Bulls in recent months and could be tabbed for an assistant GM spot, while a source said that Battier is being held onto tightly by a Heat organization that likes to keep its own.
Of the three that are scheduled to interview, one executive said that the Bulls would hit home runs with any of them.
Lloyd has been ready for years and has a reputation as a tireless worker. Hughes is considered great with players and creative with roster moves, while Eversley spent 10 years working for Nike, and has unprecedented knowledge and relationships with players.
Needless to say, Karnisovas seems like he is definitely on the right trail to appoint someone to the GM position.
“There’s no timeline for hiring a GM,’’ Karnisovas said. “I’m going to take my time as well because it’s a very important decision for me.
“I think from the past structures what I learned is that I’ve got to hire the person that is going to complement. That’s not going to have the same skillset that I do. And that criteria I’m going to keep to myself for now, but I’m going to look for a person that is going to add something to the current structure.’’
While the focus for Karnisovas is on a GM, multitasking is a strength of his. Considering how behind the times the front office was, expect other hires in other departments along the way.
“I’m going to evaluate the current structure and [find] where are the blind spots?’’ Karnisovas said of the overhaul. “I already hired two guys — J.J. Polk and Pat Connelly, who are going to join the organization. So I’ve already started that process.’’