How Will the Bulls Rebuild After Hiring Arturas Karnisovas?

Over the next few weeks The Crossover will be examining one big-picture question for every NBA team. Today we take a look at the Chicago Bulls, who were 22–43 when the season was suspended.
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It took several failed rebuilds and a pandemic for the Bulls to move on from Gar Forman and John Paxson, but Chicago finally moved on this spring, hiring Arturas Karnisovas from Denver as vice president of basketball operations, and Marc Eversley from Philly as general manager. The two will be tasked with getting the Bulls back into the playoffs, which Chicago hasn’t made since 2017, when Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, and Rajon Rondo were on the roster.

The Bulls have some interesting young talent, and the question for them moving forward is who the new front office believes can actually be part of a winner. Zach Lavine is a talented scorer, but it can be difficult to separate the empty calories from the impact. Lauri Markannen is promising though seemingly often dealing with injuries. Wendell Carter and Coby White are intriguing but certainly need more time to develop. Out of this group, who do Karnisovas and Eversley value the most?

GarPax didn’t leave the cupboard bare, but the Bulls don’t have an obvious path forward for a quick turnaround. None of the current group have flashed the potential to be franchise-carrying superstars. Meanwhile, the mid-priced vets like Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky aren’t enough to push the team out of the lottery and into respectability. The reason all of this matters is because the new front office will have to decide if the bones of the current operation are good, or if Chicago will have to take a few steps back before properly constructing the foundation.

Would it make sense to gauge Lavine’s trade value? Markannen’s contract is up in 2021, does he get a big extension? If Karnisovas and Eversley believe in their talent, then the Bulls can continue trying to add veterans around their current core and see if that gets them into the playoffs. Otherwise, the front office may have to blow up what’s here one more time before building something they consider sustainable.