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Bulls’ new man in charge Arturas Karnisovas makes 2 hires official

News broke weeks ago that JJ Polk and Pat Connelly were coming to the front office. On Wednesday, the team made it official.

Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas continues to remake the team’s front office.
Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas continues to remake the team’s front office.
AP

Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas wasted almost no time in adding JJ Polk and Pat Connelly to the front office almost three weeks ago.

He explained why on Wednesday after the team made the hires official.

“Pat and JJ bring valuable experience that will enhance our basketball operations department,’’ Karnisovas said in a statement.

“I know that the skills these two possess will be an asset in building out our program. JJ’s expertise with cap management and negotiations will help us be creative in our deals and contracts, while Pat’s great eye for talent, global contacts and networking capabilities will organize our scouting department in a productive way.

“Combined, these two basketball minds will help increase functionality and implement our vision of moving this program forward.’’

As described last week by Karnisovas, Connelly has the title of vice president of player personnel and will be in charge of the scouting department. He already has been meeting with Bulls personnel, making decisions on who stays and who goes.

Karnisovas was familiar with Connelly, having worked with him in Denver, where Connelly was the Nuggets’ director of pro personnel.

As for Polk, he will be responsible for planning and salary-cap management, as well as player-personnel matters.

The addition of Polk, who came over from the Pelicans, was a huge coup for Karnisovas. New Orleans originally hired Polk as its director of player contracts and basketball administration in 2010 after he practiced law at Bryan Cave LLP for six years as an associate in the Real Estate and Banking Practice Group.

Polk was an undergrad at Rice and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law. He played professional basketball in Sweden, Latvia and China from 1997 to 2000.

The Bulls announced Marc Eversley as general manager last week, bringing the number of front-office hires to three for Karnisovas.

Expect that number to keep growing. The plan all along has been to extend each department, as well as add depth to each one.