A big hiring by the Chicago Bulls, aimed at starting the process of restoring that franchise to glory, could have reverberations north of the border too. Read MoreNew Bulls boss could give friend, Raptors assistant Griffin, a long look as coach — Toronto Sun
A big hiring by the Chicago Bulls, aimed at starting the process of restoring that franchise to glory, could have reverberations north of the border too.
The Bulls have agreed to a deal with Arturas Karnisovas to be the team’s executive vice-president of basketball operations, according to numerous reports. Karnisovas spent seven years with the Denver Nuggets, first as assistant general manager, before being elevated to GM under president Tim Connelly. Karnisovas helped build Denver into a top team in the Western Conference and previously worked for the Houston Rockets and the NBA’s basketball operations department.
The connection to the Raptors comes from his playing days. Karnisovas, a former European Player of the Year, played for Lithuania (winners of bronze medals in both 1992 and 1996, with help from Karnisovas) against the Dream Team in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and was a star for Seton Hall, including for two years alongside Nick Nurse’s lead assistant with the Raptors, Adrian Griffin, who replaced Karnisovas as Seton Hall’s top player after he graduated. Both are members of Seton Hall’s hall of fame.
The Raptors denied the Bulls permission to speak with general manager Bobby Webster for the job that eventually went to Karnisovas, but it isn’t expected they would stand in the way of a promotion and homecoming for Griffin, who played for the Bulls and was an assistant coach there from 2010 to 2015. The team, whether it’s Nurse, other coaches, or the front office, has long touted his future as a head coach.
“I mean, he is awesome,” fellow Raptors assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren told a few beat writers in February, ironically before the entire staff went to Chicago, for the NBA all-star weekend.
“He has a great demeanour, he’s going to be a great head coach in the NBA,” Bjorkgren said. “He’s got a nice calming presence about him when he’s showing film to the team when he’s talking to the team. So just his overall feel and approach and knowing how to talk to the players is probably his number one strength.”