NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Bulls' Arturas Karnisovas, Julius Randle, Knicks

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIApril 10, 2020

PORTLAND, OR - MAY 9: General Manager Arturas Karnisovas of the Denver Nuggets looks on before Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2019 NBA Playoffs on May 9, 2019 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

Change is on the horizon for the Chicago Bulls, and perhaps that will be a good thing considering the franchise's recent struggles.

On Wednesday night, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Bulls were finalizing a deal with Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas to become their new executive vice president of basketball operations. And that won't be the only change for Chicago, as Karnisovas will be hiring a new general manager and reconfiguring the front office, per Wojnarowski.

Although the NBA season is suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, this news will likely give Bulls fans some optimism for when basketball returns. Chicago was on track to miss the playoffs for the fourth time in five years this season.

Here's the latest buzz surrounding the Bulls' reported new front-office executive, along with several other rumors from around the NBA.

     

Who will Bulls hire to be general manager?

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Arturas Karnisovas knows what it takes to be a successful general manager, as he played a key role in building the Nuggets into a contender the past few years. Now, he'll need to task somebody to fill that position with the Bulls.

On Thursday, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports reported that Karnisovas "plans to hire a person of color to be the franchise's general manager." That would be a change from Chicago's front offices of the past, per Goodwill.

One name that Goodwill mentioned as a possible fit was Nuggets assistant general manager Calvin Booth, which could make sense considering that he has worked under Karnisovas in Denver since 2017. However, it's possible that he could also be offered the GM position with the Nuggets now that Karnisovas is leaving.

According to Goodwill, Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf wants their GM to be "someone with presence," so that could have an impact on Karnisovas' search and hiring process.

Since the start of the 1985-86 season, Chicago has had only three general managers—Jerry Krause (1985-2003), John Paxson (2003-09) and Gar Forman (2009-present). So this front-office overhaul is certainly a rare wave of change at the top for the Bulls.

      

Tension between Randle, Knicks teammates?

Kathy Willens/Associated Press

In his first season with the Knicks, Julius Randle has put up solid numbers, averaging 19.5 points and 9.7 rebounds over 64 games. However, there's been some buzz that not everybody is happy with the 25-year-old big man in New York.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, some Knicks players, including rookie guard RJ Barrett, have been "frustrated by Randle's penchant for not distributing the ball quickly enough and overdribbling." A source told Berman that numerous players felt that way, with the exception of guard Elfrid Payton.

It will be interesting to see how the situation develops when the NBA returns. Randle signed a three-year deal with the Knicks this past summer, so he's under contract until 2022. He spent his first four seasons with the Lakers and played a year with the Pelicans before leaving via free agency.

Despite having some talented young players, including Randle and Barrett, the Knicks were 21-45 and 12th in the Eastern Conference when the season was suspended, as they were on their way to missing the playoffs for the seventh straight year.

So, New York may have some internal issues to work through if it hopes to turn around the franchise with its current core in the near future.

       

Possible Smith trade on horizon for Knicks?

Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

One potential move coming from the Knicks this offseason could involve trading point guard Dennis Smith Jr. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, trading Smith will be an offseason option for New York as it plans its point-guard situation.

The Timberwolves were one team that had interest in Smith, per Berman, but it's less likely they'd acquire him after adding D'Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley to their guard rotation. But Berman reported that the Magic could be one potential suitor for the 22-year-old Smith.

"Some NBA sources believe Smith, with his age and seemingly unlucky journey in New York, could be a good risk in 'the second draft,'" Berman wrote. "That is first-round picks still on their rookie contracts who need a change of scenery."

After starting the majority of his games over his first two seasons with the Mavericks and Knicks, Smith has mostly come off the bench for New York this season. He's averaging a career-low 5.5 points over 34 games, with only three of those being starts.

However, Smith is a young player who still has potential, so it makes sense why there would be teams with interest should the Knicks decide they want to trade him.

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