Arturas Karnisovas’ future plan for the Chicago Bulls is certifiably insane

Marc Eversley, Arturas Karnisovas, Chicago Bulls (Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
Marc Eversley, Arturas Karnisovas, Chicago Bulls (Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports) /

Falling short in a do-or-die single elimination play-in tournament game, the Chicago Bulls suffered a 102-91 defeat at the hands of the Miami Heat on Friday. Although the 2023 NBA Playoffs are just kicking off, Chicago will have to instead watch from home and make adjustments to rejoin the big dance next year.

Choking away a five-point lead in the closing moments of their last game has soured an otherwise promising end to the season for this fanbase and left the team with more questions than answers. However, Dwelling in the past won’t accomplish anything, so the front office must turn its attention to the future if the Bulls are to return to relevancy anytime soon.

Moving forward, it’s clearer than ever big changes must be made to revamp this team and bring it back to a competitive state. Whether that means shifting toward a rebuild or ponying up into the luxury tax to pay for more talent, both are options worth considering — at least for anyone thinking rationally.

However, Karnisovas seems to have another plan in mind for the Bulls following their embarrassing 2022-23 campaign. When Bulls’ beat reporter Sam Smith proposed the idea of a potential rebuild, Arturas surprised many fans by quickly shutting down the notion of an impending rebuild.

Staying the course might be the worst possible move the Chicago Bulls could make right now, but it’s one Arturas Karnisovas seems intent on making.

For a team that finished the season with a lackluster 40-42 record and 10th-seeded position in the East, I cannot possibly fathom why anyone would believe that running back the same core would result in better results.

There are fundamental issues at the very foundation of this team that makes building a contender virtually impossible. For starters, building around three offensively-oriented players who routinely struggle to maintain their defensive assignments is just asking for punishment, regardless of how well Billy Donovan has coached this team up on defense. The Chicago Bulls are quite possibly the NBA’s worst shooting team, and also refuse to play the only player on their team that crashes the boards more than 15 minutes a game. On top of all this, this team still lacks a real playmaker and is quickly running out of time to continue using Lonzo Ball’s injury as an excuse for their refusal to improve in this regard.

These deficiencies are simply too much to overcome. There is too much wrong with this team to carry on and hope for better results. DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic are only getting older, this team won’t just magically improve over the summer when the young core of Patrick Williams, Coby White, and Dalen Terry have repeatedly been denied the opportunity to showcase their talent in larger roles.

Lost in the trade that brought DeRozan to Chicago, not owning their own first-round pick 2025 in 2025 seems to have the Bulls’ front office hesitant to commit to a full-blown rebuild. However, this decision is almost certainly just delaying the inevitable outcome here anyways. The fact that Chicago could rebuild and keep the pick provided they finish in the bottom 10 should be more than enough to set aside their concerns.

The fact Karnisovas seems almost willfully ignorant of this fact makes placing my faith in him that much more difficult. Although Karnisovas and Eversley were brought in to be the saviors that vanquished Gar Forman and John Paxson, it seems they’re actually far more content to retread familiar ground, play things safe, and continue putting mediocre teams out on the court as long as tickets continue to sell.

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