Bulls name Karnisovas head of basketball operations

Los Angeles (AFP) –


The Chicago Bulls named Arturas Karnisovas head of basketball operations on Monday, part of a front-office shakeup at the NBA club that led to Gar Forman being removed as general manager.

Lithuanian Karnisovas, 48, joins the Bulls after spending the last seven years with the Denver Nuggets, the last three as general manager. He helped build one of the most talented young rosters in the NBA.

When the season was suspended in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the Nuggets were third in the Western Conference and on pace to win 50 games this season.

"Arturas is one of the most respected basketball executives in the NBA," Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf said. "As the new head of basketball operations, I am confident that his vision, ability to lead and experience helping build winning teams in Houston and Denver will serve him well here."

The Bulls added that veteran exec and former general manager John Paxson will move into a new role as "senior adviser of basketball operations".

Karnisovas said the Bulls job "is the height of a dream".

"I grew up watching the Chicago Bulls. They represented American basketball and the NBA to a kid from Lithuania," he added.

"I've always had a love for this franchise and to be a part of it and influence its revival is a privilege."

ESPN had reported last week that Karnisovas, a former player for Barcelona in Spain and Olympiakos in Greece, was headed to the Bulls.

He takes on the challenge of reviving an historic franchise that despite boasting promising young players like Zach Lavine and Lauri Markkanen has performed disappointingly in recent seasons.

The Bulls had a record of 22-43 and were in 11th place in the Eastern Conference when the NBA season was suspended.