Bulls executive Arturas Karnisovas is into chemistry ... at least for now
With the first All-Star fan-vote totals announced Thursday, Bulls chemistry was once again a topic. The big question is: Does Karnisovas want to gamble on disrupting it?
The chemistry came quickly.
Zach LaVine provided another reminder Thursday. He was petitioning for a Bulls backcourt monopoly in the All-Star voting for the Eastern Conference.
With the release of the first fan vote, DeMar DeRozan was on top for the guards with 1,487,598 votes, followed by James Harden (892,065), Trae Young (862,878) and LaVine (776,043), who was easily holding down the fourth spot.
LaMelo Ball, the younger brother of the Bulls’ Lonzo, was behind LaVine but with only 422,247 votes.
The only other Bull in the top 10 was Nikola Vucevic, who was 10th in the frontcourt voting with 92,936 votes.
“We don’t have any egos,’’ LaVine said recently. “Regardless of who has it going that night or who has it going in a quarter, we’ll both come together and look for other guys and get them involved throughout the game and just try to figure out how to win the game.
‘‘That’s been the first and foremost thing that has helped this team.’’
That’s why LaVine had no shame in politicking for next month’s All-Star Game
“We’re No. 1 in the East right now,’’ he told reporters. “We’re putting up great numbers. DeMar is having an MVP-type season. And I don’t feel like I’m that far behind him.’’
Those weren’t the only interesting comments to come out of the organization about the closeness and the chemistry the Bulls have going.
Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas did a rare in-season interview on 670 The Score and talked about the chemistry and its importance this season. He made it clear that disrupting it is not a high priority.
“I think we’d like to see how this group works together, and we’ve got to be really sensitive to the changes, if any, we will have,’’ Karnisovas said when discussing trade possibilities. “Like I said, these guys have a great locker room, a great vibe. They like each other. It’s a joy to watch what they’re doing on the floor. But, of course, there’s room to improve as a group, and I’m looking forward to watching them.’’
There is a caveat. Other executives have insisted that Karnisovas was one of the tougher front-office execs to read, and that was back in his Nuggets days. Since coming to the Bulls, that poker face is even more inscrutable.
So while he was saying all the right things about keeping the current personnel locked in, that could be the message he wants the rest of the league to carry while he works behind the scenes or he just might not like what’s being floated on the trade table.
The Feb. 10 trade deadline is still a ways out, and with the standings still fairly tight, there are sellers that haven’t even stepped to the table yet.
So Karnisovas might say he wants to keep the close chemistry intact, but that could change tomorrow.
The Bulls also would have to decide if they’re willing to give up on Coby White or Patrick Williams, considering they’re the best assets they have to procure some help for the frontcourt, which they badly need.