Following the termination of former head honchos John Paxson and Gar Forman, the Chicago Bulls’ fanbase could be described as nothing short of ecstatic. Equipped with a budding star alongside a wealth of young talent and draft picks, the Bulls looked like an extremely desirable job for Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Everseley to take over for.
At least, it did before they actually took control of basketball operations.
In the most recent episode of his podcast, The Ringer’s Bill Simmons did a deep dive discussing which general manager positions around the league would be the least desirable job for potential applicants. In the face of an impending sale of the franchise, guest host Ryen Russillo picked the Charlotte Hornets, but Simmons instead lit into the Bulls for their horrible roster and asset mismanagement up to this point.
"“I don’t know what their move is. They don’t have a first-round pick this year. They lost their Franz Wagner pick. DeRozan’s in his mid-thirties now. I’m not a Zach LaVine guy… he’s certainly fine, just not personally my cup of tea. He might be yours, just not for me. There’s talk about a Vooch extension, which makes me super nervous, it was in the news. I don’t know if Patrick Williams is going to be good. I don’t really know what the moves are with this team from a roster standpoint.”"
Russillo was initially hesitant to agree with this statement, but later agreed that the Bulls seem to be “stuck”. Simmons continued on to add that he wouldn’t want to be “no man’s land” like Chicago currently is.
The current state of the Chicago Bulls is an unsavory disaster, and management deserves their share of the blame.
As much as I may hate the Bulls’ current situation, I still don’t believe it’s entirely fair to place 100% of the blame on Karnisovas’ shoulders. This team has repeatedly proven it can actually compete at a high level by securing the first seed through the New Year in the 2021-22 season, taking eventual NBA Finalist Heat to the brink in a single-elimination game, and posting an 8-6 record against the Celtics, Bucks, 76ers, and (Durant and Irving led) Nets this season. It’s not his fault that Lonzo Ball’s injuries became too much to bare and crippled this team’s full potential.
That being said, it is his fault for building a team that completely relied on its fourth-highest-paid player. As valuable as Lonzo’s skillset is, there’s not one true contender in the league that would completely fall off a cliff if it lost its fourth-best player.
The Bulls are a team led by three offensively-oriented players, two of which are on the wrong side of 30 with presumably only a few years of productive basketball left in their legs. And yet, the Bulls ranked 24th in offensive rating and suffered from a distinct lack of veteran presence — at least before Beverley arrived. What should be this team’s greatest strengths, are in fact weaknesses.
It’s become abundantly clear now that this is a team that has been mismanaged and constructed poorly, there’s no avoiding that fact. The sooner the front office accepts this, the sooner the Bulls can get back to being a consistently successful team again. If Karnisovas and Eversley don’t get it together soon, I expect it won’t be long before it becomes someone else’s problem to solve.