Karnisovas' first hires focus on familiarity

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2011, file photo, Houston Rockets director of global scouting Arturas Karnisovas poses during the NBA basketball team's media day in Houston. The Bulls hired Denver Nuggets general manager Karnisovas to run their basketball operation, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday night, April 9, 2020. The person, who confirmed reports by several outlets, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the move has not been announced. Longtime executive John Paxson was expected to move into an advisory role.

    FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2011, file photo, Houston Rockets director of global scouting Arturas Karnisovas poses during the NBA basketball team's media day in Houston. The Bulls hired Denver Nuggets general manager Karnisovas to run their basketball operation, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday night, April 9, 2020. The person, who confirmed reports by several outlets, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the move has not been announced. Longtime executive John Paxson was expected to move into an advisory role. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 4/12/2020 6:25 PM

Arturas Karnisovas' first hires for the Bulls' revamped front office focused on the familiar.

Karnisovas reportedly tabbed J.J. Polk and Pat Connelly for assistant general manager roles, with Polk focused on salary-cap management and Connelly on personnel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Both have ties to Karnisovas' former boss, Denver president of basketball operations Tim Connelly. Polk joined the New Orleans Pelicans in 2010, around the same time Tim Connelly became the Pelicans' assistant general manager.

Tim Connelly moved to Denver in 2013 and hired Karnisovas, who was working for the Houston Rockets as an international scout at the time.

Pat Connelly is Tim's younger brother, and one of four Connelly brothers who have worked in scouting for NBA teams. Pat was assistant general manager of the Phoenix Suns from 2013-18.

Karnisovas' next task appears to be hiring a general manager for the Bulls. If he sticks with the familiarity theme, former New Orleans GM Dell Demps could be a top candidate. He hired both Polk and Tim Connelly in New Orleans.

Demps served as Pelicans general manager from 2010-2019. He ran the front office during most of Anthony Davis' time in New Orleans, but Demps was fired on Feb. 15, 2019, before Davis was traded to the Lakers.

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Some other names that have been mentioned as potential interviews for Bulls' general manager are former Bulls center Nazr Mohammed, the Clippers' Mark Hughes, Philadelphia's Marc Eversley and Orlando's Matt Lloyd, a Fenton High School grad who began his career with the Bulls.

Denver assistant general manager Calvin Booth is expected to stay with the Nuggets and fill Karnisovas' old role. Another Booth, former DePaul star David Booth, has ties to the New Orleans crew and could end up with the Bulls in some role.

Karnisovas is focused on the front office right now and is expected to address the Bulls' coaching staff at a later date.

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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