League sources told ESPN and the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday that both sides were finalizing details on a multiyear contract late Wednesday night. According to ESPN, the Bulls offered the position to Karnisovas shortly after the completion of a second round of interviews.
Karnisovas, 48, will replace John Paxson, who has been controlling the Bulls' basketball operations since 2003. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Paxson will move into an advisory role, and there will be discussions with general manager Gar Forman about his future with the franchise.
Karnisovas will be tasked with reshaping the Bulls organization, which has failed to reach the playoffs in three out of the last four seasons. According to ESPN, the ex-Nuggets executive will hire a new general manager and additional basketball operations and scouting positions.
According to ESPN, the Bulls were impressed with Karnisovas' diverse background and experience in the NBA and overseas, including his role in helping build the Nuggets into playoff contenders. Denver's draft success has included All-NBA center Nikola Jokic, standout guards Jamal Murray and Gary Harris and former Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic.
Before joining the Nuggets, Karnisovas had stops with the Houston Rockets' front office and the NBA league office. The Lithuania native, who played college basketball at Seton Hall, had a decorated EuroLeague and Olympic-medal-winning playing career prior to his jump to the front office.