The Reinsdorf family significantly changed the front office in 2020 when they replaced John Paxson and Gar Forman, ‘Garpax,’ for Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley. Chicago fans have been begging for a change for years, even putting up billboards in Chicago asking for the Bulls to fire the front office. As the Bulls fans got their wish, they cheered along with every move Arturas Karnisovas made at the time. Almost three years later, his success rate is lower than John Paxson and Gar Forman’s moves, which isn’t what Bulls fans expected.
Let’s take a look at all of the significant moves Arturas Karnisovas has made over the last three years and how they’ve aged over time.
Drafting Patrick Williams Over Tyrese Haliburton
This was the first significant move the new front office had to make. Arturas Karnisovas wanted to swing for the fences to hit a home run on his first draft pick as the Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Chicago Bulls. Tyrese Haliburton was considered to be one of the top prospects of the 2020 draft class after having a successful college career. Nobody would’ve been blindsided if Haliburton had been in the draft’s top three. Instead, the Bulls selected Patrick Williams with the fourth overall pick even though Williams never started a game in college, which is typically a red flag. Fast forward to today, Williams is stuck averaging 9 points per game this season and for his career, while Haliburton is a future superstar.
The Bulls Traded For Nikola Vucevic
This trade stings a bit more, considering the Bulls not only gave up so much for Nikola Vucevic, but they weren’t even able to extend him last summer, which now makes him an unrestricted free agent. The trade will only get worse if the Bulls let him walk in free agency this summer. The Bulls gave up a young Wendell Carter Jr. and two first-round picks. Carter Jr. is averaging nearly 16 points per game and nine rebounds per game in a loaded front-court and is the team’s defensive anchor. Those are similar numbers to Nikola Vucevic, averaging 17.5 points per game and 11 rebounds per game. Both players can spread the floor. The part that hurts the most is the Bulls’ 2021 draft pick turned into Franz Wager, averaging above 20 points per game in his season in the league and is on pace to become an elite player. The Bulls also gave up another first-round pick to the Magic, which will likely be a lottery pick this season.
Letting Lauri Markkanen Go For Almost Nothing
The Bulls traded Lauri Markkanen in a three-team trade, acquiring Derrick Jones Jr. and a heavily protected Portland First-Round Pick. If the pick falls outside the top 14 anytime before 2028, the Bulls will receive the late first-round pick. If the pick remains within the lottery through 2028, it turns into a second-round pick. The Bulls also received a second-round 2023 draft pick in the trade. Arturas Karnisovas had an entire season to evaluate Lauri Markkanen but failed to offer him a fair contract, which led to his eventual trade. Derrick Jones Jr. has been in and out of the rotation for the Bulls. That draft pick may not be as impactful for several more years if conveyed in the first round. Lauri Markkanen had the talent and is proving how good he truly is when given a chance. Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley fumbled yet another move.
Drafting Ayo Dosunmu In The Second Round
In his second season, Ayo Dosunmu is averaging 9.5 points per game and 2.7 assists per game while starting 34 of his total 42 games played this season. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers by any means, but he is an excellent serviceable player for the Bulls. Give credit where credit is due. Arturas Karnisovas drafted a rotational player in the second round, which eventually softened the blow of Lonzo Ball’s extended absence. Beyond that, Bulls fans should temper their expectations of Ayo for now.
Signing DeMar DeRozan & Alex Caruso
Given the salaries DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso signed and the production they’ve brought to the team, they’re the only reason Bulls fans aren’t lined up with pitchforks outside the Advocate Center calling for the jobs of Marc Eversley and Arturas Karnisovas. Both have been great signings and have tremendous trade value, which gives the front office flexibility in retooling the team.
Signing Lonzo Ball
This signing cuts both ways. Lonzo Ball has been labeled injury prone since his days in Los Angeles and New Orleans. The Bulls were caught tampering after signing Lonzo Ball, which cost them a draft pick, which is the front office’s fault at the end of the day. However, he’s been the key to the engine in his extremely short sample size with the Bulls. Locking him into a four-year deal, however, is the main issue. Lonzo Ball will enter the third year of his contract with only 35 games played for the Bulls. That hurts.
Giving Zach LaVine $216 Million
Arturas Karnisovas didn’t have much choice when his back was against the wall during LaVine’s free agency negotiations. He tried to lock him into a team-friendly deal the season before but failed. This signing is too early to tell how it’ll work out for the Bulls. There’s a chance LaVine turns into the star player that his pay stub suggests he is, or perhaps the Bulls can flip him for better complementary pieces for DeRozan. Either way, it’s too soon to tell.
Hiring And Extending Billy Donovan
There isn’t much of an issue hiring Billy Donovan, especially since he did a great job in Oklahoma City. Despite the apparent issues and poor game planning, the problem was the stealthy extension Donovan received. The Bulls could’ve been off the hook next year from Donovan’s contract and hired a more suitable coach. Arturas Karnisovas extended Donovan at an unknown time, with Shams Charania casually dropping that nugget. He should’ve let Donovan’s contract expire to decide to either bring him back or look for a better fit.