Time for the architects of this Bulls mess to step forward and talk
Bulls coach Billy Donovan proved to be a standup guy on Friday, answering questions that were out of his pay grade. But the fans and media didn’t need to hear from the construction foreman as much as the architects.
MINNEAPOLIS — It starts with the foundation being built on uneven ground.
Then came the questionable financial decision to spend max money on a three-season porch in a four-season city.
And the underwater treadmill in the exercise room? Necessary, but was it really -supposed to get this much use?
So while it was admirable for the foreman to calmly sit there and get peppered with questions about this sudden dumpster fire of a structure, the person who should have been front and center Friday night was the architect.
That’s Accountability 101.
That’s also what Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas all but promised when he was hired.
“My professional philosophy is knowing players, constant communication, roster balance, and deal-making creativity,’’ Karnisovas said in 2020 in his first meeting with the media.
“Constant’’ might have been a stretch, considering he has communicated with the media perhaps a handful of times since then, but the expectation has to be that he’ll talk soon. This season continued to spiral downward after an embarrassing showing in the loss Friday to the Knicks.
Doesn’t he owe that to the fans?
After all, Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley doubled down on what was seemingly a flawed project, opting to take the road of “continuity’’ and bring back this core roster.
Entering this four-game road trip, the Bulls are one of the more disappointing teams in the NBA. One of the front-office faces has to address the 11-17 start.
“Everything starts and ends with winning,’’ Eversley said in his opening news conference with the media. “For Bulls fans, hear me when I say it: Our ultimate goal is to bring an NBA championship back to the city of Chicago.’’
Cool. Goose bumps.
One problem: Since that day almost 2½ years ago, Eversley has spoken with the media even less than Karnisovas, and that NBA championship parade that was thrown out there? Let’s just say there’s plenty of good seats still available at Grant Park.
But there was coach Billy Donovan after a third consecutive loss, answering questions about the roster makeup and future trade possibilities as best he could. Questions that were above his pay grade. But someone had to answer them.
“I don’t personally feel that way,’’ Donovan responded, when asked if running back this core group was a mistake by the front office. “The character in that locker room is really, really good. With the adversity that happens in the game, we have to collectively have more resolve.’’
Then again, what’s the coach supposed to say? Donovan should be applauded for being a stand-up guy and taking the heat, but he’s also not going to take the flamethrower to the only bridge that gets him back home.
He has warned everyone publicly that this campaign would be much harder than last season’s short-lived playoff run, but for some reason those warnings were ignored by far too many. Starting with his boss.
Back in September, Karnisovas set the bar for a successful season at reaching at least the second round of the playoffs.
If the Bulls keep playing like this, however, they might not even reach a play-in game.
The good news?
There is a lot of time to make repairs. The regular season is not even a third in the books. That means plenty of basketball still to be played.
And if it does continue to crack and break? One of the architects will surely address it soon. They have to, don’t they?