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The long-standing mess that has been the Chicago Bulls front office could wind up impacting the Raptors going forward.
Adrian Wojnarowski was first on Friday with word that the Bulls were beginning the process of parting ways with executive vice-president John Paxton and GM Gar Forman with the intent to replace them with one person.
Among the three names out there to basically take over both positions and run the Bulls is current Raptors GM Bobby Webster.
Webster was promoted to GM in Toronto a little less than three years ago with then-GM Masai Ujiri moving up to team president and CEO.
Webster certainly has had a hand in all the Raptors’ moves and business both before that promotion and since, including the Kawhi Leonard deal that eventually helped land the Raptors their first Larry O’Brien Trophy.
But Ujiri casts a long shadow, and while the team often has made efforts to build up Webster’s portfolio within the front office, it has been almost universally accepted that Ujiri still has the final say.
That said, a move to Chicago to a GM’s role without a president above him would actually be considered another step up the ladder, and therefore not a lateral move.
But until Webster speaks on the matter, this is all just talk for now, and the Bulls still would require permission from the Raptors to interview Webster.
The ESPN article suggested Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas also would be on the Bulls’ wanted list.
According to Wojnarowski, interviews would start next week and be conducted remotely.
NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson said the Bulls also will be seeking permission from the Miami Heat to interview their assistant GM, Adam Simon.
Concern within the Raptors’ front office that Webster could be heading out the door would best be described as tepid.
According to Johnson, who has as good a read on the pulse of Chicago’s organization as anyone outside their front office, the Bulls initially planned to begin interviews after the season but the NBA’s shutdown for the time being has moved that opportunity up significantly.
ONLY A MATTER OF TIME
With every other professional sports league on hold, the WNBA’s upcoming start to another season became just the latest casualty in sport to this coronavirus pandemic.
Training camps were supposed to open April 26, and the season was set to tip off May 15, but with the very health of the entire world in question, the easy decision was made to postpone.
“Our guiding principle will continue to be the health and safety of the players, fans and employees,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said via release from the league.
The league had previously agreed to a one-month shutdown this season to accommodate the Olympic games. That won’t be necessary if a season is to be salvaged this year, but barring a major shake-up in the schedule, it’s likely that one-month break will now come a year from this summer.
A SILVER LINING
When Dwight Powell’s Achilles tendon ruptured in January, the injury took two things away from him. First was his ability to help the Dallas Mavericks make that playoff run the fanbase has been pining for since the team won its NBA title in 2011. But also on his mind that night when his athletic career was put on immediate hold was the perceived lost opportunity to represent Canada, first in qualifying for the Olympics and then, success there, representing his country at the actual Games.
The odds aren’t great that an NBA season can be saved, but with the Olympics now pushed back a year, Powell should have every opportunity to fulfill that second dream.
“It’s unfortunate the circumstances that have led to the postponement of the Olympics, and hopefully it doesn’t get postponed any further, hopefully things will be back to normal far, far before then, and knock on wood all of our guys remain healthy through this strange period and then through the season to come,” he told Canadian Press in a phone interview. “But I’m definitely looking forward to having that opportunity, God willing, I’m healthy still at that point, to compete for the country.”
TEMPLE OF LAW
And still more silver linings. For Garrett Temple. a well-travelled NBA vet who wasn’t even drafted and is now onto his ninth team in Brooklyn including two stops with the Sacramento Kings, that means taking full advantage of all the extra time on his hands.
Temple, who already has an undergrad degree in business, is prepping to write the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test).
“Honestly, I’ve thought about it over the past three years, probably,” Temple told New York’s YES network. “My dad kind of put a seed in my head. I was thinking more MBA. I have my undergrad degree in business, so I was thinking more MBA. And my dad was telling me law school is something that’s pretty prestigious, having a law degree and just teaches you to think in a different way. And I’ve always been a pretty big-time debater. I’m very literal. So, when I get into arguments, I’m a type of person that you probably just want to stop arguing with me, because I’m going to nitpick every single thing that you said.”
The Utah Jazz, with an ownership group that has 80 companies under its umbrella, was hit with layoffs yesterday. According to Wojnarowski, all of the layoffs within the Jazz were on the non-basketball side of the ledger.
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