With the hiring of new Executive Vice President in charge of basketball, Arturas Karnisovas, the Chicago Bulls have set a new course for the franchise.
But for any success to occur from the Karnisovas era, he can’t be a one-man show, and for the Bulls to complete a 180 turn away from the ineptitude of the GarPax era it would help a bunch if they bring in visionaries that are plugged into what players throughout the league want and what organizations need to appeal to those players.
A big part of doing both things is finding people the players can relate to, who’ve been where they’ve been and understand what they prioritize in life and business. The much-publicized ESPN Undefeated report by Marc Spears just before the Bulls’ Karnisovas announcement outlining the frustrations Black executives in the NBA had with the team’s interview process was meaningful and needed, though it may have shot a bit prematurely.
Thursday it was revealed that former Bull Nazr Mohammad was interviewed for a potential spot under Karnisovas and Friday, the Bulls welcomed veteran New Orleans executive J.J. Polk, a Black man, into the organization as an assistant General Manager.
As “Hawk” Harrelson was fond of saying, “don’t stop now, boys!”
As stated in ESPN’s report of the Polk hiring, the Bulls could be hiring multiple assistant GMs. Whether there’s a proper GM with subordinates or a just a bunch of AGMs flooding the Bulls offices, its important the team continues its hires along the same standards as they’ve surprisingly exhibited with Karnisovas and Polk — quality, experienced and fresh with ideas that can truly shake up the Advocate Center.
We’ve chosen to prop up two candidates here at WARR Media, the first of whom you can read about here from our co-founder Sean “Pharoah” Terry — a former Bull from the dead days just after the dynasty that didn’t come close to his potential but through charisma and his rising platform at ESPN has allowed himself to be an influential basketball voice with much room to develop as an authority.
Sean “Pharoah” Terry Pitches Jay Williams
For a single season, Jay Williams had the keys of the Chicago Bulls franchise in his hands.
Fresh off a terrible 2002-03 campaign, the Bulls were far from a relevant June sports topic aside from the usual chatter of draft pick speculation. At that time, the team had few, if any, bona fide solutions for the roster beyond the franchise point guard whom they’d just entrusted with the keys to the franchise after drafting him No. 2 overall.
And in the blink of an eye, and as quickly as it would take for a bystander to dial into ESPN Chicago, an unfortunate motorcycle accident ended a once promising basketball career and sent the trajectory of the Bulls timeline back five years.
The news around Jay Williams was cloudy that afternoon and slow to be verified by team personnel; however, from the tone in which the news was conveyed, I knew things would never be the same.
The flashes of hope that Williams displayed in an up and down rookie season would be all we’d see of him in a Bulls uniform.
Somewhere tucked away in my parents attic I still have the VHS recording of the high water mark for Williams’ NBA career, an early November game versus the New Jersey Nets where Williams would face off against the standard-bearing NBA point guard at the time (Jason Kidd) and notch his lone career triple-double.
Who Better to Effect Change…?
They say the best way to effect change is from the inside out.
We’ve know for a fact the Bulls front office situation is in peril although many have long since written this fruit off for rotten sustenance.
Reinsdorfian loyalty is unquestioned. Jerry Reinsdorf’s organizations take care of their people, just like they took care of Williams following his devastating injury in 2003. In the grand scheme of things, the $3 million severance package was a drop in the bucket, yet a generous olive branch that Williams could have only felt more grateful for as he processed the mistake that he made in recklessly manning that motorcycle.
Not that he is indebted to the Bulls by any means, but Williams could be put to use by the organization once again by being inserted into their rebuild equation. Perhaps the Bulls can simultaneously net a return that pays itself forward 17 years after the fact.
In bringing in Williams, the Bulls could finally land a organizational leader savvy enough to toe the line and thrive within a front office dynamic whose league-wide reputation is stuck in the doldrums of NBA purgatory whilst its own shielded belief and internal workings function like a madcap comedy rather than a more earnest portrayal. More Stripes than Heartbreak Ridge.
Short on tangible NBA experience, but long on potential, Williams represents an ideal match for new head of basketball Arturas Karnisovas, who will be empowered and likely able to utilize new voices in the organization who are not entirely beholden to John Paxson, Doug Collins or anyone else seen as a senior advisor.
And yet in still, Williams understands his place in the league as someone who checks all the boxes as to what’s desirable AND needed in a front office in the new age NBA.
Williams does not sell himself short when it comes to his reach in sports business and his pull among league stars, a growing influence of his that has come from his recent years working on ESPN. Look no further than his close relationship with Kevin Durant and the budding success of their show “Boardroom” on ESPN+.
Williams is young enough still to relate to today’s basketball perspective, and he’s been candidly spot-on when it comes to speaking to the need for front offices to understand AAU culture just as much as collegiate and international scouting, his POV could be a nice compliment to the internationally-borne outlook of Karnisovas.
As the Bulls’ GM, Williams would represent a type of shift in culture desperately needed for an organization that fashions itself on structure and intensity.
At this point, a breath of fresh air is exactly what the Bulls need and suffice to say, Williams is ready to lend exactly the type of jolt and perspective needed to resuscitate the franchise.
With downhill dynamo Coby White acting as the team’s latest point guard revitalization and Seattle-bred bucket getter Zach Lavine looking like an enhanced version of Williams’ Bulls teammate Jamal Crawford, the time is now to give a copy of the keys for the rebuild back to a former Bull who can’t coast on any dynasty-fueled nostalgia.
He would be back to see through the kind of success he felt he was born to provide to post-Jordan Chicago only to come up painfully short, creating a pathway for redemption as perfect as the best pick-and-roll to the rim.
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