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#pounditFriday, October 30, 2020

Jerry Krause once tried for the craziest offseason imaginable

The Miami Heat assembling The Big Three in 2010 was probably the biggest free agent coup in NBA history, but Chicago Bulls GM Jerry Krause apparently tried to pull off something similarly ambitious a full decade earlier.

Appearing recently on “The Platform Basketball Podcast,” former Bulls guard Jamal Crawford revealed a crazy story about Krause trying to acquire three of the league’s biggest talents in a single offseason.

“My rookie year, Jerry thought he was gonna get Grant Hill, Tim Duncan, and Tracy McGrady,” Crawford said. “So obviously, MJ just retired, right? We have all this cap space. We have all these rookies. Go back and look, I guarantee Grant, Tim, and T-Mac were all free agents. Jerry wholeheartedly believed that we were gonna get all three of them. Even if we get two of them.”

Crawford, who spent his first four seasons with the Bulls, is referring to the summer of 2000, a time when all three aforementioned players were indeed free agents. Krause ultimately whiffed on all three though, as McGrady and Hill both signed with the Orlando Magic while Duncan returned to the San Antonio Spurs. As a result, the Bulls’ cap space went to free agents like Ron Mercer and Brad Miller that offseason instead. Chicago never made it back to the playoffs again during the tenure of Krause, who stepped down in 2003.

Krause was largely vilified by ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” but he was a real visionary when it came to putting together talented teams. That almost continued even after the Michael Jordan era was over.

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