The Chicago Bulls have embarked on a formal search process to hire a new top executive with full authority on basketball decisions, sources tell ESPN.
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 told ESPN.
Chicago ownership has discussed the plan with Executive VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson and GM Gar Forman, sources said. Paxson is likely to continue in an advisory role with the franchise; there are expected to be more ownership conversations with Forman about his future too, sources said.
The Bulls are planning to talk with several possible candidates to lead the franchise and plans to have a new leadership well before any possible resumption of play during the NBA’s shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Interviews will start next week and will be conducted electronically, sources said.
Karnisovas has worked with Denver President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly in shaping the Nuggets into a Western Conference contender. The Nuggets’ draft successes — including Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray – have played a significant part in the franchise’s revival. Karnisovas, a 1992 Olympian for Lithuania, has also worked in the Houston Rockets front office and the league office in New York.
Webster succeeded Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri as the GM in 2017. Webster has been a key executive in the Raptors rise to a championship franchise, including the drafting of All-Star Pascal Siakam, the trade for 2019 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and the landing of undrafted players like Fred Van Vleet.
Webster joined the Raptors front office in 2013, after working in the league office in New York since 2006.
Paxson was hired as GM in 2003 to replace Hall of Famer Jerry Krause. When Paxson elevated to the Executive VP title in 2009, Forman was promoted to the GM title.