The leader in Chicago’s clubhouse is Arturas Karnisovas. As Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times confirmed this afternoon, he’s had the keys to the castle for the last four years and does have the “final say” on any potential moves. With zero trades in the previous 30 months and only one in the last 41, he’s been under a firestorm from the fanbase and Chicago faithful. Following a third straight trade deadline without a deal done, he took the stand this afternoon to answer the media’s questions.
“Obligation To Remain Competitive”
Karnisovas’s message since his arrival has been constant. If nothing else, Bulls fans can call their front-office leader consistent. He’s always preached continuity and has done everything possible to avoid a full-blown rebuild. Skating the bottom edge of playoff contention has been sufficient compared to sacrificing a season, or half a season, in exchange for a better product the following year. He’s also a leader who lives in the present, deflecting any future questions or summer inquiries by saying they’re focused on the next few months of the regular season.
Moving Andre Drummond or DeMar DeRozan would not have resulted in players who would immediately contribute, as Adrian Wojnarowski reported this morning that Chicago’s desired return was, and Karnisovas confirmed in his press conference. Although he had the go-ahead from ownership to embark on a complete rebuild if he wanted to go that route, he’s dodged that route to stay in the race for the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament.
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Citing Young Player Development, Last Season’s Post-Deadline Success
Right in line with the delusional hope that’s riddled the Chicago Bulls franchise for the past three seasons, Karnisovas continued that sentiment this afternoon. Although the improvements of the young assets on Chicago’s roster have undoubtedly been drastic and fun to watch, they have not translated to a higher number in the wins column. At some point, in a results-driven business, as he puts it, AK will have to answer why their record has not surpassed the .500 mark in over two and a half years.
He also brought up last year’s 14-9 post-deadline record as one of the league’s top standings over that period, which still hardly landed them in a Play-In Tournament scenario. Also, mentioning that this team is a better product with Zach LaVine on the floor, it’s even more head-scratching that he’d opt for continued mediocrity given that this is a nearly identical team as last year’s unsuccessful campaign. Quickly becoming a despised figure in Chicago sports, his inability to assertively answer the tough questions accompanying a losing franchise that refuses to commit to change is frustrating for everyone involved.
Many Bulls fans will not be happy with this series of answers following the embarrassment that unfolded this afternoon, and boos may begin to reign down in the United Center if Chicago’s season continues at the current pace. While many of the players are fan favorites, and the young players’ emergence has been great to watch, the boycott of the front office is now alive and well, deservedly so.
Does AKME make it through another summer if this team falls short of postseason play in back-to-back seasons and a third in his four years with the club?