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Karnišovas finishes 2nd in NBA Executive of Year vote originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Chicago Bulls' rise to respectability didn't go unnoticed around the NBA.
The league announced its annual Executive of the Year award, and Artūras Karnišovas finished tied for second behind the Memphis Grizzlies' Zach Kleiman. In voting conducted by peers, Karnišovas received one first-, six second- and four third-place votes to finish with 27 points, the same as Cleveland Cavaliers executive Koby Altman.
Kleiman, who, at 33, is the youngest recipient of the award voted annually since 1972-73 by fellow executives, received 16 of the 29 first-place votes and finished with 85 points. At 56-26, the Grizzlies finished with the second-best record in the NBA with foundational pieces acquired or hired by Kleiman, although his most significant offseason move came when he acquired Steven Adams and the draft rights to Ziaire Williams in a three-team trade.
Karnišovas and his staff completely revamped the Bulls' roster, producing a 46-36 mark and the franchise's first playoff appearance in five seasons.
The Bulls added DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball via sign-and-trade acquisitions and Alex Caruso with the midlevel exception in a busy offseason that also featured a three-team trade sending Lauri Markkanen to the Cavaliers which recouped a first-round pick and Derrick Jones Jr. from Portland. The Bulls also drafted Ayo Dosunmu in the second round, and the rookie from Chicago played the fourth-most minutes on the team.
Since his hire in April 2020, Karnišovas and his staff have completely flipped the roster save for Zach LaVine and Coby White. The 2021-22 season also marked the first full one in Chicago for Nikola Vučević, who Karnišovas acquired at the 2021 trade deadline.
Karnišovas' attempts to address the backup big-man situation didn't fully pan out as both Tony Bradley and Tristan Thompson---acquired in the buyout market---struggled with inconsistency on the court and in the coaching staff's rotation. The Bulls also have traded three first-round picks in their acquisitions of Vučević and DeRozan.
But Karnišovas and his staff have helped restore the Bulls' standing throughout the league with their aggressive roster-building and respectful relationships. At least publicly, Karnišovas has vowed to seek continuity with the team's core after so many changes, working the margins this offseason to improve the roster depth.
Jerry Krause, who won the award twice, and Gar Forman, who tied with the Heat's Pat Riley in 2011, are the previous winners in franchise history.
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