CHICAGO — The Bulls officially announced Marc Eversley as their general manager on Friday.
Eversley becomes the right-hand man of new vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas in the team’s remade front office, one tasked with turning around a stalled rebuild. Much like his new boss, Eversley comes with a representation for finding undervalued players in the draft during his years as an executive. Now the two will come together to lead the Bulls decision-making process.
Karnisovas had settled on Eversley as his choice for general manager and made plans to call him this Monday. But while watching “The Last Dance,” ESPN’s 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Bulls, Karnisovas said he became emotional and called Eversley late Sunday night to see if he was awake. Eversley was up watching a replay of episodes three and four around 1 a.m. ET when Karnisovas offered him the job.
“We’re basketball junkies,” Eversely said during his introductory conference call Friday afternoon. “We love being in the gym. We love evaluating talent. We love growing teams. I think my relationships is obviously something I think I complement him well with. My days at Nike and working with the teams I’ve worked with, I think they’re going to be a great complement to him and our staff moving forward.
“In the teams that I’ve been with prior, we’ve always fostered healthy debate and communication. After talking to Arturas, that’s something he welcomes. As long as you do it in a respectful way, you can do great things.”
Bulls fans might not have known much about Eversley before he secured the job, so here are five things to know about the team’s new GM.
1. He is credited with discovering Matisse Thybulle.
Eversley spent three years with the 76ers, reuniting with then-team President Bryan Colangelo after the two worked together in Toronto. Even after Colangelo was fired, Eversley remained a part of the 76ers’ front office under Elton Brand.
The 76ers credited Eversley with discovering Matisse Thybulle during the guard’s junior year at Washington and pushing the organization to move up four spots in last year’s draft to select him. As a rookie, Thybulle already is a standout perimeter defender and he shot 35.2% from beyond the arc.
“I know he has a respect from his peers, and he worked extremely hard to get where he’s at today,” Karnisovas said. “He has tremendous of work ethic, and the combination of his eye for talent and ability to connect with players and coaches made him a primary candidate for us.”
Eversley’s draft record from Philly, however, is also has some missteps. He was a part of the push for the 76ers to move up two spots in 2017 to select Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick. Fultz struggled badly and endured shooting problems before being traded to the Magic in February 2019.
2. He scouted DeMar DeRozan.
Eversley, who is Canadian, got his first job as an NBA executive with the Raptors and rose through the organization to become Colangleo’s right-hand man.
Eversley led the charge to select DeMar DeRozan out of USC in 2009. DeRozan’s arrival started a renaissance for the organization, lifting them into contention as he became a four-time All-Star.
That selection helped Eversley develop his reputation as a strong talent evaluator, including reportedly eyeing Damian Lillard early on, but the Trail Blazers would eventually select him with the No. 6 pick in 2012.
During his time with the Raptors, Eversley also developed a connection with team President Masai Ujiri, one of basketball’s most respected executives and someone Eversley called a brother.
“He really introduced me to the art of scouting and how to truly evaluate talent,” Eversley said. “I owe him for that.”
3. He worked for Nike for a decade.
Before he entered the NBA executive world, Eversley spent a decade at Nike. At this stop, Eversley began to develop his player connections and relationships around the league, two more strengths he brings to the Bulls. Eversley rose from working retail in marketing to representing players on the Raptors and around the league. He developed good relationships with the Canadian national team, including Steve Nash, and he attended Vince Carter’s wedding and is the godfather to Carter’s daughter.
In addition to building a strong base through the draft, the Bulls are going to need to be able to attract marquee free agents. Eversley’s background gives reason to believe he could help in the push to attract a superstar.
“I’m still extremely close to a lot of the guys at Nike today,” he said. “That really taught me the true value of connecting the dots — is what we used to say. Relationships move the needle in this business, and it really starts at the grassroots. I was fortunate enough to work at Nike at a time when LeBron James and players like that were coming up through the system. It really taught me the value of relationships. It taught me the value of a brand, really. Nike is one of the most powerful brands in the world.
“To Arturas’ story from last (Sunday) night, back then the Bulls were one of the strongest brands in the NBA. It’s my hope that I can take some of the lessons that I’ve learned at Nike and implement them here with Chicago as a goal to get the Chicago Bulls back to relevancy and get that brand back to where it’s cool again and kids want to be part of it. That’s one of my goals for sure.”
4. He played NAIA college basketball.
It will be hard not to notice Eversley when he walks into a room, considering he is 6-foot-8. He played college basketball at the NAIA level for Urbana University in Ohio, which recently closed. Eversley averaged 11.3 points in 95 career games. Although neither Eversley nor Karnisovas ever played in the NBA, they both come to the Bulls front office with some basketball experience.
5. He is the first black general manager in Bulls history.
The Bulls do not overhaul their front office often, so when their search for Karnisovas started and finished without successfully interviewing any black candidates — in a league in which about 70% of the players are black — they drew criticism from African-American executives around the league. Chief Operating Officer Michael Reinsdorf said they were denied permission to interview the people of color on their list. Regardless, Karnisovas said he would make it a point to change that and considered it a responsibility to emphasize diversity within his candidate pool.
It all helped set things in motion for Eversely to make history as the first black general manager in Bulls history, a responsibility he does not take lightly.
“I am a black man in a leadership position now in a city with so many black youths,” Eversley said. “I see this as a great opportunity. I think being visible is going to be important, I think being invested is going to be important. I think this position with the Bulls provides me with resources to help drive some change.”
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