Bulls name Arturas Karnisovas Executive VP of Basketball Operations
The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has hired Arturas Karnisovas (Car-NISH-O-Vas) as Executive Vice President – Basketball Operations. In this role, Karnisovas will be responsible for all decisions made in Chicago’s basketball operations department.
“Arturas is one of the most respected basketball executives in the NBA. His resumé speaks for itself. I am thrilled that he is now a member of the Bulls,” said team President & COO Michael Reinsdorf. “As the new head of basketball operations, I am confident that his vision, ability to lead and experience helping build winning teams in Houston and Denver will serve him well here. I am very pleased to welcome him and his family to the City of Chicago and have him officially join our organization.”
Welcome our new Executive Vice President – Basketball Operations, Arturas Karnisovas!
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 13, 2020
Karnisovas, 48, comes to the Bulls with nearly two decades of front-office experience, where he played a key role in the construction of championship contenders with the Denver Nuggets and the Houston Rockets. He most recently served as General Manager of the Denver Nuggets. Hired by Denver as the team’s Assistant General Manager in 2013, he was promoted to Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations in 2016-17, before being elevated to General Manager in 2018.
“This is the height of a dream for me, and I am prepared for the challenge that it presents,” said Karnisovas. “I grew up watching the Chicago Bulls. They represented American basketball and the NBA to a kid from Lithuania. I’ve always had a love for this franchise and to be a part of it and influence its revival is a privilege. I want to thank Jerry and Michael Reinsdorf and the entire Bulls organization for presenting me with this opportunity and welcoming me and my family to Chicago.”
During his time with the Nuggets, some of the notable players the team drafted were Nikola Jokic (41st overall, 2014), Jamal Murray (seventh overall, 2017) and Michael Porter Jr. (14th overall, 2018). Karnisovas also played a role in the free-agent signing of Paul Millsap. Prior to this season’s suspension of the NBA schedule, the Nuggets were on pace to improve their winning percentage for a fifth consecutive season. While with Denver, he was also involved with USA Basketball, serving as an International Personnel Scout for the 2014 FIBA World Cup squad that claimed gold in Spain.
He spent five years with the Houston Rockets (2008-13), starting as their Director of Global Scouting before being elevated to Director of Scouting. During his time in Houston, the team drafted Marcus Morris (14th overall, 2011) and Chandler Parsons (38thoverall, 2011). In that same span, the Rockets also traded for Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragić and James Harden. Prior to his term with the Rockets, he worked more than four years at the NBA (2003-08) in its basketball operations division.
Karnisovas enjoyed a storied international career, where he played for Barcelona, Bologna, Olympiakos and Athens. He helped his team advance to the Euroleague Final Four on three occasions, and he claimed FIBA’s European Player of the Year in 1996 while with Barcelona. He also was a three-time Spanish League champion with Barcelona (1996, 1997, 2001). As a member of Olympiakos Piraeus in the 1997 McDonald’s Championship in Paris, he scored 19 points against the Chicago Bulls. In 1992, and again in 1996, he led his native Lithuania to bronze medals in the Summer Olympics.
A native of Klaipėda, Lithuania, Karnisovas came to the United States in 1990 at the age of 18. He played for P.J. Carlesimo at Seton Hall, where he became the first player from the Soviet Union to play college basketball in the United States. He went on to enjoy a decorated career for the Pirates, where he was a four-year starter and helped the Hall claim two Big East Tournament titles and make four trips to the NCAA Tournament. He finished his collegiate career with 1,509 points and was a two-time Big East Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In 2016, he received Seton Hall’s Most Distinguished Alumnus Award, the university’s most prestigious alumni award which is presented to an individual who has been recognized as an outstanding leader in his or her professional field.
He and his wife, Gina, have two sons, Eric and Michael.
A formal introductory press conference will be held at a later date.