Torrey Craig Reveals Telling Detail About Connection to Bulls’ Top Exec

Arturas Karnisovas, Chicago Bulls

Getty Arturas Karnisovas, executive vice president of basketball operations for the Chicago Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls landed Torrey Craig this offseason, signing the veteran forward away from the Phoenix Suns in free agency. This wasn’t their first contact, though, as Craig revealed during his appearance at Bulls Fest on August 19.

Craig and Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations, Arturas Karnisovas, had been in contact with one another for the last two years.

“Actually, the last couple free agencies, me and AK have been talking. And we just couldn’t get it done,” Craig said, per NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson on August 21. “We kind of knew what kind of pieces he wanted and what (Carter and I) could bring and what kind of team we had the potential to be, especially with the guys who are already here.”

Chicago’s top stars are all offensive-minded.


Karnisovas has come under heavy fire over the last two years for failing to round out the Bulls’ roster as he had vowed to do. It was not for lack of trying, though, as Karnisovas has suggested and Craig’s comments confirm

This offseason, he signed Craig and Jevon Carter filling several voids with the veteran duo.

Although the Bulls’ best players all had decent individual seasons, the Bulls failed to make the playoffs for the fifth time in the last six seasons. What the Bulls’ stars offer in offensive skill, they lack in defensive ability and, as head coach Billy Donovan has explained, a certain level of mental toughness to overcome adversity.

“Just watching the games … and seeing how I could contribute and bring a little bit more toughness,” Craig said, per Johnson. “A little bit more edge, a little bit more competitiveness to some of those games to be more consistent.”

Donovan still pieced together a top-five defensive unit around the Bulls’ top trio and anchored by 2023 All-Defensive First Team selection, Alex Caruso.

Adding a sound defender such as Craig – and/or Carter – could make the group that much better.

“We want to be one of those tough, hard-nosed, defensive-minded, competitive teams all year round,” he said.

Torrey Craig has Advice for DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine

Craig averaged 7.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists; all of which were career-high marks. But Craig’s defense is still his calling card despite not possessing the accolades some of his peers may have, and he’s already earned DeMar DeRozan’s respect as one of the most difficult matchups he’s ever faced.

“I gotta give Craig a lot of credit,” DeRozan said on “The Old Man and The Three” with retired NBA player JJ Redick in 2022. “He’s one of the…top two players that defends me the best. I give him credit.”

Now, Craig wants to use that knowledge to the benefit of DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, and surely any other teammates in need of his perspective.

“As a defender, I can give those guys tips and advice on what teams want to do and how they want to guard them and the insight I had playing against those guys to give them any edge they need,” Craig said.

Craig added that once DeRozan and LaVine get into a groove, “it’s a wrap”.

Torrey Craig Could Challenge Patrick Williams for Starting Job

Craig signed a two-year, $5.3 million contract in free agency which is hardly starter’s money in today’s NBA landscape. And yet, some believe that Craig could push fourth-year forward Patrick Williams for the starting power forward spot.

Bulls general manager Marc Eversley challenged Williams to step up next season and doubled down on that at Bulls Fest.

“I think this year is the year where he really needs to step it up and figure it out, I really do,” Eversley said on the “Bulls Talk Podcast” on August 20. “He’s showing flashes over the first three years. I want to see him show more instances of flashes, more consistent. … And when he puts it together – and he will put it together – we might have something special.”

If nothing else, Craig is coming in playing confidently, which never hurts.

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