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New Bulls general manager Marc Eversley embraces the task at hand

While former GM Gar Forman made a career out of survival and mediocrity, Eversley and Co. are showing an aggressiveness to turn this “retooling’’ around as quickly as possible.

“We’re definitely trying to bring this team back to relevance, absolutely,’’ Bulls GM Marc Eversley said. “This is the Chicago Bulls; it’s an iconic brand. There’s a tremendous amount of history.”
“We’re definitely trying to bring this team back to relevance, absolutely,’’ Bulls GM Marc Eversley said. “This is the Chicago Bulls; it’s an iconic brand. There’s a tremendous amount of history.”
AP

There was no hint of deception in his voice.

His answers were clear, honest and well thought out.

For the first time in years, talking to a Bulls general manager didn’t resemble an encounter with a used-car salesman who had just sold you a lemon.

But Marc Eversley isn’t naïve, either. All the ebullience that comes from having a new GM in place won’t mean a thing if this regime makeover doesn’t deliver. Gar Forman is gone, but Bulls fans’ high expectations remain.

Eversley said that’s just how the new front office likes it.

“We’re definitely trying to bring this team back to relevance, absolutely,’’ Eversley said Wednesday during a Zoom call with media. “This is the Chicago Bulls; it’s an iconic brand. There’s a tremendous amount of history. . . . It’s a responsibility, and we’ve embraced that.

“We made a gigantic leap in terms of making a commitment to the fan base by getting a coach with the qualities of a Billy Donovan. We’ve talked a lot about this not being a rebuild. We’re looking to retool this thing, and we think Billy is going to put us in a great position to do that in the foreseeable future.

‘‘So, yeah, there’s a little bit of pressure as far as responsibility in getting this franchise back to relevance, but we embrace that. We embrace that on a daily basis, and some of the decisions we’ve made on a daily basis kind of reflect that.’’

The Donovan hire is a great example — not the only one but the latest.

It took some time for executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas to make a decision on former coach Jim Boylen, who finally was fired in August. But the Bulls didn’t take long to pounce on Donovan when he and the Thunder organization had a mutual parting of the ways.

That move clearly illustrated that the John Paxson-Forman days are long gone.

When Karnisovas makes a move, it’s not based on long-term survival. He takes quick action with the goal of building a winner.

“When Billy became available, I think Arturas called an Uber and wanted to head to O’Hare right away,’’ Eversley said.

“One thing about [Karnisovas] is when he wants to get something done, we get it done. He’s really thoughtful about it, but when there’s a decision to be made, he makes it, and we move forward.’’

And that’s the approach they’ll take with the roster. Eversley calls it a “retooling’’ for a reason. There’s talent to develop, but he also knows they have assets and salary-cap room starting next year. All of it will be in play.

“It’s all of those things,’’ Eversley said when asked why he envisions a quick turnaround. “I like the players on this roster.

‘‘If we put together an efficient, effective player-development program, you will see a quick turnaround as far as the output these players give.

‘‘Billy Donovan brings a different voice to the gym. He brings winning, he brings leadership, he brings player development, and if you put that voice at the top of this thing, our players will grow.

“We do have assets going forward in terms of the flexibility a year from now, and if we can grow these players internally, we’re going to see success on the court. This team is better than a 22-win team; the talent is [better than that]. So if we tweak it and do some little things, we’ll see some results that are positive.’’