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Nuggets’ Arturas Karnisovas the clear favorite for Bulls job after 2nd interview

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plus a few rather odd interviewees

Western Conference Semifinals - Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

There were already rumblings Tuesday night that Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas was the front-runner to become the Bulls’ new executive vice president of basketball operations, and that has only been made more clear on Wednesday. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that Karnisovas made a “strong first impression” on the Bulls and then completed a second interview, which included both Jerry and Michael Reinsdorf.

The inclusion of Jerry Reinsdorf in the second meeting would suggest the Bulls might be close to offering Karnisovas the job:

Prior to this latest news about Karnisovas, the names of a few other interviewees surfaced. Disgraced former 76ers president Bryan Colangelo of burner account fame was hilariously among those names, as were former Hawks execs Danny Ferry and Wes Wilcox. Ferry infamously left the Hawks after an independent investigation into a racist comment he read aloud in a scouting report during a conference call about Luol Deng, though that investigation effectively cleared him.

While none of these names really seem like serious candidates to take the head job (Colangelo and Ferry are especially odd given the circumstances), NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson suggests these interviews weren’t as formal and were “possibly scheduled for information gathering or for other front-office roles,” which was also echoed by the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley (Cowley suggests there are some unknown interviewees as well). The Bulls are looking to build out their front office in addition to hiring a new main man, and Johnson says there will likely be more discussions with other candidates thanks to “substantial interest” around the NBA for jobs in a revamped structure that likely includes a new GM. It will be interesting to see if the Bulls interview any prominent black candidates, because a handful of black executives from around the NBA torched the franchise to The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears about the lack of African American candidates.

Whether the hire is ultimately Karnisovas or somebody else, Johnson continues to stress the “full autonomy” line, even with John Paxson being involved with some of these interviews and likely moving to an advisory role. Both Karnisovas and Jazz GM Justin Zanik reportedly view Pax “as a resource moving forward,” which suggests he won’t actually fire himself as suggested might be a possibility. This is all still really bizarre to me, but maybe Pax really is just willing to be a figurehead collecting a paycheck while taking the heat off himself. I guess I could live with that, even if a full housecleaning would be preferred ... or the Bulls could just follow Spencer Dinwiddie’s foolproof plan to turn everything around.