With the end of ‘The Last Dance’, viewers are reminded about the post-MJ phase of Chicago Bulls. After Michael Jordan announced his second retirement in 1999, Bulls entered their team rebuilding phase. Even though it was a challenge in itself, but Jerry Krause was quite confident of acquiring the three main free agents in 2000 NBA pick.
After the six championship feat for Michael Jordan and his crew, the franchise saw a dip in the years ahead. Their second-highest player, Scottie Pippen was traded to Houston Rockets in exchange for Roy Rogers. Moreover the likes of Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, and even their head coach, Phil Jackson left the team. The reigning Bulls shrank down really quickly after such a breakup.
Jamal Crawford played his rookie years for the Bulls in the early ’00s. Being a part of the team’s transition period, Jamal gave a peek into it on ‘The Platform Basketball Podcast’.
In 2000 NBA draft pick, Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, and Tracy McGrady were the prominent free agents at that time. In the 1997-98 season, Michael was earning higher than $33 million which was way more than the salary cap. Bulls’ salary cap was at $26.9 million prior to Jordan’s second retirement.
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Chicago Bulls GM ‘wholeheartedly believed’ he would get them
“My rookie year, Jerry (Krause) thought he was gonna get Grant Hill, Tim Duncan, and Tracy McGrady,” Crawford said on the podcast. “So, obviously, MJ just retired, right. We have all this cap space. And so we have all these rookies, and — go back and look, I guarantee you, Grant, Tim, and TMac were all free agents. And Jerry wholeheartedly believed we would get all three of them.”
Well, Jerry had a lot of money to spare after their highest-paid player retired. But his confidence in getting all three didn’t turn out the same way. Tim re-signed a deal with San Antonio Spurs while Grant and Tracy moved to Orlando Magic. If Tim had also landed up with the other two, Magic would have been living Jerry’s dream.
The scenario for one of the best teams in the league soon changed after half the team departed. They never saw that era again. Probably, Jerry’s ‘rebuilding’ didn’t go right for him.
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