Adrian WojnarowskiSenior NBA InsiderClose
- Host of The Woj Pod
- Joined ESPN in 2017
After a second round of interviews that included owner Jerry Reinsdorf on Wednesday, Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas has emerged as the strong front-runner to become the Chicago Bulls ' new executive vice president of basketball operations, sources told ESPN.
No formal contract offer has yet to be extended to Karnisovas, but his candidacy has gained rapid momentum, sources said.
Karnisovas had a lengthy virtual interview with Bulls chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf -- who's leading the search -- on Tuesday, sources said.
On Wednesday, Michael Reinsdorf introduced Karnisovas to his father, Jerry, for additional discussions, sources said.
Reinsdorf completed an initial round of virtual meetings on Wednesday after an interview with former Atlanta Hawks GM Wes Wilcox, sources said.
Karnisovas' diverse background in the game captured the Bulls' attention from the start of this process, including his role in building the Denver Nuggets into a contender with president Tim Connelly and governor Josh Kroenke. The Nuggets' draft success has included All-NBA center Nikola Jokic, guards Jamal Murray and Gary Harris and former center Jusuf Nurkic.
Karnisovas had stops with the Houston Rockets' front office and league office and a decorated EuroLeague and Olympic-medal-winning playing career. Karnisovas, a native of Lithuania, left home as a teenager to play college basketball at Seton Hall.
If Karnisovas is hired, he's expected to be able to reshape the Bulls' front office, including hiring a new general manager and additional basketball operations and scouting positions, sources said.
Bulls president John Paxson is expected to move into an advisory role, and there will be discussions with GM Gar Forman about his future with the organization, too, sources said.