Arturas Karnisovas says blowing up the Bulls’ roster is not an option

Two seasons of underachieving have the executive vice president of basketball operations frustrated, but Karnisovas made it clear Saturday that blowing up the roster was not in the cards. So how does he fix it? He’s going to have to be creative and somehow get the Reinsdorfs to be lenient with the salary cap. A very big ask.

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Arturas Karnisovas

Arturas Karnisovas had his end of the season address on Saturday, and made it very clear that blowing up the roster is not an option this offseason.

Chicago Bulls

When it comes to fixing the Bulls this offseason, every option will be explored.

Well, almost every option. Blowing up the roster is not on the table.

It wasn’t in executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas’ plans during the February trade deadline, and it won’t be this summer.

“That’s been thrown around all season: ‘Blow up, rebuild.’ It’s not on our minds,’’ Karnisovas said. “[We’re focusing] on winning and trying to build a sustainable program here.

“How we can help this group and how we can improve from this year. That’s what our offseason goal is going to look like. We’re going to consider everything and how we can compete with the top teams.’’

That lofty goal doesn’t seem too realistic, considering the current NBA landscape. There’s a reason the Bulls finished 40-42, then lost to the Heat on Friday for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference: They just weren’t good enough.

The Bulls suffered from a lack of three-point shooting, and they had too many slow starts. For some reason, they didn’t have the right mentality to put teams away late in games.

Last season, Karnisovas watched almost the same roster finish 25-16 in clutch-game situations, third-best in the league. This season, that mark fell to 15-23, the second-fewest wins in those situations.

So does that mean bringing back the big three of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic?

Well, that’s how it sounded.

“We have to surround them with players with a certain profile, right?’’ Karnisovas said. “But I think we have all this time in the offseason to figure it out, how we can do better.’’

But saying the core was coming back and it actually happening are two different things.

DeRozan is eligible for an extension with one year left on his deal, and Vucevic is a free agent.

Vucevic remained coy about his plans, but he did say that he would shop around.

“I would like to stay here,’’ Vucevic reiterated Saturday. “But that’s on the front office to decide and work with my agent on the contract part. And also I’ll talk to them about their vision and plan and things like that. That’s as much as I can say. Obviously, I’ll be a free agent. I’ll see what else is out there and test the market.

“I’ve been here for 2½ years now. I like my time here and built good relationships with my teammates, coaches, front office, people in the organization and around the city. So a lot of positives here.

‘‘But we’ll see what their plan is and what they decide to do.’’

Karnisovas danced around the elephant in the room: the salary cap. If he wants to re-sign Vucevic, keep Coby White and add shooting, it seems like he would have to go over the cap and into the luxury-tax threshold, an area that the Reinsdorfs rarely venture into, especially with an underachieving squad.

“In terms of support from the ownership, from Jerry and Michael [Reinsdorf], I’ll always add support, and just obviously that’s going to have to be justified when we’re ready to push forward,’’ Karnisovas said. “[We’ll have to wait and see] this offseason what this team is going to look like.’’

A below-.500 team that didn’t make the playoffs obviously is not what Karnisovas wants the Bulls to look like.

“At the end of the day, to be a .500 team is not good enough,’’ Karnisovas said. “It’s not good enough for this organization; it’s not good enough for the fan base.’’

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