Arturas Karnisovas Sends Strong Message on Vision for Bulls

Arturas Karnisovas

Getty Arturas Karnisovas watches as players warm up

The Chicago Bulls have championship aspirations. While that might seem like a given, Bulls vice president of basketball operations, Arutras Karnisovas said so in no uncertain terms in a recent interview.

Karnisovas has been adamant about keeping the core together with a focus on adding talent around them.

Featured in an episode of “The Home of Basketball” documentary on Go3, Karnisovas of his love for the organization. It also featured strong statements of support from high-ranking officials in the NBA including the late former commissioner, David Stern.

His vision for the Bulls should get every fan excited.


A Historic Realization

Karnisovas was hired in 2020 during the height of the COVID pandemic. He set about taking stock of what he had at the time, a dysfunctional team helmed by former head coach Jim Boylen who has been linked to Charlotte Hornets in a bench capacity.

He immediately relieved general manager Gar Forman of his duties as former the Bulls’ former architect, John Paxson, retreated to an advisory role.

After a year of evaluations, and a 31-41 record, Karnisovas cleaned the rest of the house.

“I realized last year that this historic club deserves a better team. The current situation is not enough, and we need to create something better.”

The Bulls traded for center Nikola Vucevic at the 2020 trade deadline. But they went just 11-15 with him down the stretch to go from five games under .500 to 10 games below by season’s end.

That led to one of the most aggressive offseasons in franchise history with the Bulls committing nearly $200 million to the trio of Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and DeMar DeRozan.

“The vision is to win the title.”

Chicago was second in the Eastern Conference on February 24 before succumbing to their injuries and a weak bench. Their five-game first-round playoff loss to the Milwaukee Bucks highlighted what the Bulls still need to even think about reaching their goals.


Karnisovas’ Bulls Roots Run Deep

A lot of team executives offer up lip service about chasing titles. Few are able to deliver. But too few are unwilling to even make the requisite moves to try. That is what made the roster turnover by Karnisovas stand out.

The Bulls’ boss, who finished tied for second in total points in the 2022 NBA Executive of the Year voting, has no plans for a five-year rebuild.

His passion for this organization is not just because of his current role, either.

“I’ve been rocking Bulls jerseys since I was a student, and I’ve been a fan of them since then.”

That passion has also shown in his transactions since taking over two seasons ago. At the time, he praised the Bulls’ youth.

“One of my primary goals is to establish player development. We are the second-youngest team in the league, great young core. The Bulls drafted well. So players want to play but at the end of the day, they want to win. My job is going to be to facilitate that.”

Facilitating the winning has meant just Zach LaVine, a free agent this offseason, and Coby White remain from the roster Karnisovas inherited.

The Bulls are expected to give Karnisova’s first draft pick, Patrick Williams, more time to develop heading into just his third season. But both he and White have been mentioned in trade rumors this offseason.


Bulls’ Brass Putting Money Where Their Mouth Is

Karnisovas noted how many of the upper-echelon teams in the NBA have been built over time in his exit interview. That includes last year’s champion Bucks and the Boston Celtics who fought through trade speculation to make the NBA Finals this season.

Those teams are also not afraid to spend the necessary money to build out their rosters.

If the first two seasons under Karnisovas have taught us anything, it is that he is closer to that than he is to the previous Bulls regime.

That bodes well for the direction of the team going forward even with questions about the roster’s longevity. They have gone from second-youngest team to 13th-youngest with their additions from this past summer, per HispanosNBA.com.

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