Success breeds opportunity. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Chicago Bulls will seek permission to interview Arturas Karnisovas for their vacant general manager position:
Among the Bulls initial plans will be to seek permission to interview Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas and Toronto GM Bobby Webster, among other candidates, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 3, 2020
Perhaps no front office in the league has done a better job at scouting, acquiring young talent, and retaining players than the Nuggets in the last five years. So it isn’t surprising that another young, rebuilding team like the Bulls would look to bring in an experienced GM who has a proven he can guide even a small market team through the process. According to Woj, this top executive would have “full authority on basketball decisions.”
This also isn’t the first time the Nuggets’ GM has drawn interest from other teams. The Nets came calling in 2016 and then the Bucks in 2017. In 2018, Karnisovas turned down an interview with the Philadelphia 76ers, who had a much more promising roster than the 2020 Chicago Bulls. So it wasn’t so much a matter of if, but when, the Nuggets GM—who signed a contract extension in 2019—would draw interest again.
Karnisovas has been with the Nuggets since July of 2013 when he was hired as an Assistant General Manager after a stint with the NBA league office and as an international scout for the Houston Rockets. In the summer of 2017, Tim Connelly was promoted to President of Basketball Operations, opening the door for Karnisovas to be moved into the GM role. He made an immediate impact by signing All-Star forward Paul Millsap to a three-year deal—one of the biggest free-agent signings in Nuggets’ history. He also negotiated the signings of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray to max deals.
Since Karnisovas took over as GM in 2017, the Nuggets are 143-86 with one second-round playoff appearance and another playoff berth all but assured in 2020 if the league is able to resume play.