CHICAGO — The Bulls have made the two biggest additions in their franchise overhaul, bringing in Arturas Karnisovas as the new executive vice president and Marc Eversley as general manager. But the new duo’s evaluation of the team has been limited while the NBA remains on hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Karnisovas still hasn’t been inside his office at the United Center. Eversley also had not made it to Chicago before the Bulls formally introduced him via a conference call with reporters Friday.
Because of these unprecedented circumstances, the Bulls stressed patience before making major decisions on the team’s roster, existing front office and coaching staff, including coach Jim Boylen.
“We owe it to everybody on staff to get to Chicago and meet them face to face,” Eversley said. “We owe to our players to hopefully get to evaluate them in practice settings, in playing settings. And we owe it to our staff to see them in those types of settings as well. I just think it’s far too early to make those types of decisions with respect to anybody on the staff until we get to Chicago.”
Boylen’s job status has remained murky since the Bulls decided to shake up the front office, adding a pair of executives from outside the organization to lead the charge. New executives usually like to hire coaches, and with a record of 39-84 since taking over in December 2018, Boylen’s winning percentage is difficult to stand on alone.
The uncertainty of the NBA calendar makes the decision trickier but gives the Bulls’ new regime time to make a decision on Boylen’s future, which is expected to be a joint call between Karnisovas and Eversley.
“Just like anything else on our staff, we are going to utilize our time to evaluate everybody on staff — not only players, coaches but also people in the front office as well,” Eversley said. “I’ve spoken to Coach. We had a really great conversation and I’m looking forward to spending time with him in Chicago when we’re afforded that opportunity.”
Karnisovas made it clear from his opening news conference that the initial focus was building out the front office, and he has made three key additions there. Eversley is the highest-profile hire as GM, joining assistant GM J.J. Polk and vice president of player personnel Pat Connelly.
Expect the Bulls to expand their player development staff next. Eversley said he was surprised to find only one player-development coach (Shawn Respert) on staff during his research for the job.
“That’s a hell of a job for one person to take on,” Eversley said. “It’s going to be one of my tenants to try and figure out our player-development system. There’s a lot of key areas within it — skill development, physical development, mental enhancement.
“But with that, you need to hire people to help support that. We’re going to do a pretty diligent job in terms of looking for the proper staff to bring in here to work with our young guys. But player development is going to be a tremendous focus for this organization moving forward.”
Player development has been a point of emphasis for both new executives since joining the organization. They see talented young players on the roster, which was the second youngest in the NBA last year, and believe they can get more out of them.
“I’m excited about the young core that is in place here,” Karnisovas said. “You know (we won’t be able) to get to know them until we have an opportunity to practice and hopefully play together. I’m not in a rush to make changes or any opinions on certain players.
“I look forward to giving the players an opportunity to show what they can do. I’ve had numerous conversations with players and Zoom calls. It’s going to take a while until we get to some level of normalcy, and I do not know what that looks like yet, so I will not be able to fully assess the current situation as it is.”
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