Bulls to begin search for front office executive, to start before play resumes


In a planned front-office overhaul that NBC Sports Chicago and other outlets have previously reported, the Bulls will begin their formal search for a new lead basketball executive next week, sources confirmed. That timeline was first reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. 

Bulls president and chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf, who has been performing due diligence on a wide variety of candidates, initially plans to ask for permission to interview Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas, Raptors general manager Bobby Webster, Pacers’ general manager Chad Buchanan and Heat assistant general manager Adam Simon, a source said. The organization wants the lead executive hire completed before the NBA season resumes, a source confirmed. 

Whoever the Bulls hire will have full autonomy for basketball operations and will play a role in how the front office is structured, a source said. Ensuing hires and how the scouting department is shaped will in part be determined by the hire to lead basketball operations.

Similarly, Jim Boylen’s future will be determined by this new hire, a source said. Boylen has support from Reinsdorf and executive vice president John Paxson, who is expected to remain with the organization in an advisory role.

As has been previously reported, Reinsdorf is hopeful the new head of basketball operations is open-minded on Boylen but that a desire to hire his own coach wouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

Michael and Jerry Reinsdorf will begin interviews electronically next week, a source said. As the process unfolds, other targets and interviews could emerge. Ownership isn't expected to follow the recent trend of hiring an executive with any ties to player agency, which would rule out respected Jazz executive Justin Zanik.

Reinsdorf’s original timeline to begin overhauling the front office, which also will feature changes to the scouting department, was the end of the regular season. With the NBA on hiatus since March 11 because of the COVID-19 virus, Reinsdorf originally held off beginning the formal interview process out of respect to the unprecedented nature of the situation.

The big-money scenarios of wooing Thunder vice president and general manager Sam Presti or Raptors president Masai Ujiri, both of whom are under contact, won’t happen, a source said.

Though Michael Reinsdorf has been handling the search on his own to this point, Paxson has been a driving force behind the scenes on the need for change and a more modern front office. Paxson, whom Jerry Reinsdorf hired in April 2003 to replace Jerry Krause, has told ownership he will remain in whatever role the new hire wants to help the organization.

General manager Gar Forman, promoted to his spot in 2009, has largely been relegated to a scouting role. He is valued internally for that skill and ownership likely will offer him an opportunity to remain in that role. However, the new hire to head basketball operations also would have to sign off on this.

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