Nuggets Promote Arturas Karnisovas To GM In Response To Bucks' Pursuit For Same Role
The Nuggets have promoted Assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas to run their "basketball operations" as GM following the Bucks' "serious pursuit" of Karnisovas to fill their vacant GM spot, according to sources cited by Adrian Wojnarowski of THE VERTICAL. Sources said that Nuggets President & Gov. Josh Kroenke "created an opportunity for Karnisovas to continue to work under" GM Tim Connelly by promoting Connelly to President of Basketball Operations. The "extended decision-making process within Bucks ownership played a part" in the Nuggets' attempts to "find a solution" with Karnisovas. Connelly and Karnisovas have "worked closely together with Kroenke on reshaping the Nuggets' roster" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/14). In Denver, Nick Kosmider notes the "aggressive move to secure the future" of the Nuggets' front office "provides a clear signal that Kroenke is encouraged by the trajectory of the franchise." Before becoming a finalist for the Bucks GM job this month, Karnisovas was a "finalist last summer" for the Nets' GM role. He has "strong ties" to European basketball, which "helped the Nuggets evaluate and draft" F Nikola Jokic and other promising players over the past four years (DENVER POST, 6/15).
WHAT'S NEXT FOR BUCKS? In Milwaukee, Matt Velazquez notes with Karnisovas "out of the picture," the Bucks have a "limited field of possible successors" to John Hammond, who joined the Magic's front office in May. Karnisovas was "one of three finalists" along with Bucks Assistant GM Justin Zanik and former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox. Sources said that Karnisovas and Zanik had "distanced themselves as the top candidates." Zanik has been heading the Bucks' pre-draft operations since Hammond's departure and has been "lauded by other members of the Bucks' front-office staff for keeping the process moving in a positive direction" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 6/15).
WHAT'S THE HOLD UP? In Cleveland, Terry Pluto wondered why Cavaliers ownership has "allowed questions to hang over the future" of GM David Griffin, whose contract expires at the end of the month. Griffin, who "should have been signed to an extension last summer," has "received interest from other teams." However, there are "no big front office jobs open right now" other than the Bucks. Griffin can "sit out a year, and he'd be a hot candidate for several jobs" in '18. Pluto: "But I want him to stay here" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 6/14).