Denver Nuggets General Manager Artūras Karnišovas has accepted the Chicago Bulls’ offer to join as the team’s front office as Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations on Monday. Karnišovas, 48, leaves behind a strong legacy, having helped build a culture built on successful draft picks and player development in Denver. “Chicago got a special guy and family,” Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly said in a statement.” As good as AK [Artūras Karnišovas] is professionally, he’s an even better individual. It’s a bittersweet moment as we are losing a trusted colleague and a best friend, but we are so unbelievably proud of Arturas. He’s going to be an absolute homerun hire for the Bulls.” Karnišovas initially joined the Nuggets as assistant GM back in 2013, having previously worked for the NBA in the basketball operations office and serving as an international scout for the Houston Rockets. Since his arrival in Denver, he has been pivotal in helping grow the team’s scouting network, especially in his home continent of Europe. He played a significant role in helping the Nuggets find one of the best second round picks in NBA history in Nikola Jokić and also assisted with the move to draft Vlatko Čančar.
READ MORE: The day Jokić won MVP Prior to Karnišovas’ time in the NBA, he was widely considered to be one of the top talents to play in Europe during a stellar 15-year career. He starred each in what was then considered to be the continent’s top four leagues (Spain, France, Italy and Greece) at the time, with stops at FC Barcelona, Fortitudo Bologna and Olympiacos Piraeus. His banner year came in 1996, where he averaged 21 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting an impressive 42.4 percent from downtown. He would be awarded the FIBA European Player of the Year that season. Karnišovas also shined as a member of the Lithuanian national team, picking up two bronze Olympic Medals (1992 and 1996) and one silver medal in the 1995 EuroBasket.