By Eurohoops team/ [email protected]
The Chicago Bulls were in a slump during the past seven years, making to the playoffs only once and being on the verge of some internal struggles with star Zach LaVine getting increasingly frustrated. However, with the hiring of Arturas Karnisovas, everything turned around.
“When we hired Arturas, I was confident that he would help turn things around, but I can’t say I thought it would be this quickly. There are no issues. There’s no drama. Just everyone wanting to get to the next level. It’s a good feeling,” Michael Reinsdorf told ESPN.
“We hired Arturas at the beginning of COVID, when a lot of teams were in a holding pattern. A lot of times, people come and clean house. He took the time to get to know people in our organization.”
It shows how Arturas has been patient in the process but far from ti that he wasn’t ready to make quick and concrete decisions. Such was the case with coach Billy Donovan.
“The minute that Billy Donovan announced that he wasn’t returning to Oklahoma City, Arturas was ready to camp out at his house. Billy’s hiring was such a pivotal move for the Chicago Bulls.”
He was also set on bringing over Nikola Vucevic, and the rest followed.
“Arturas’ ego isn’t that he needs to be the man on every deal. He was aggressive in trading for (Nikola Vucevic) last year and showed everyone here that the status quo wasn’t good enough. It was smart, and it was the beginning of a chain of events that led us to where we are today. As we built out our roster, we turned the focus to defense too. Alex Caruso has been instrumental. Lonzo Ball has been a great addition, pushing the pace for us. He’s the perfect complement. Getting Ayo Dosunmu (38th overall) in the second-round. We had him higher on our draft board.”
Of course, understanding and getting in a good relationship with Zach LaVine was crucial, and Karnisovas new that,
“Arturas and Billy really took the time to get to know Zach LaVine, and knew that he wanted to win. Zach had been on some bad teams, and just like it wasn’t Devin Booker’s fault in Phoenix for those years, it wasn’t Zach’s fault here. We needed to get him help. Billy, Arturas and (general manager) Marc Eversley spend a lot of time with our players. These aren’t assets, these are people. But especially with Zach, they took time to understand what he is all about. It was easy for people on the outside to say, “Oh, he’s just a scorer and he doesn’t care.’ But these knew better about Zach, because they spend time and get beyond the basketball with him,” Reinsdorf said.
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