What if the Bulls had fired Krause and hired Jordan

It's no secret that Michael Jordan wanted to become a GM after being a player, but there was no practical way for that to happen with the Bulls. Reinsdorf wasn't about to fire Jerry Krause to instill Michael Jordan. The idea would have been insane. However, let's say that out of overwhelming loyalty for Jordan making the Bulls around a billion dollars that Reinsdorf did the insane.

The Bulls wouldn't have been frozen out of free agency

One of the biggest factors in the Bulls not landing anyone in 2000 was the fact that the players in the NBA all hated Krause. He was not equipped to recruit a free agent after the hero of virtually every player had poisoned the well against him for the previous decade. However, if Jordan showed up to recruit guys wearing six rings it's a different story.

The Bulls still likely wouldn't have landed Tim Duncan, he wouldn't forgo the extra money he could get in San Antonio, but they likely would have landed Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill. That would have been a double edged sword for the team as we saw what happened to the pair in Orlando. Assuming Jordan still drafts Artest and Brand, the Bulls would still have some pretty good pieces to build around though.

It's likely the Bulls would have been a recruiting magnet and one of the best destinations in the NBA for free agents for however long Jordan was GM, and it's also likely that with McGrady added to the team that Brand wouldn't have been begging out.

We would have missed out on the Tim Floyd era

Maybe Jordan would have persuaded Doug Collins to come back and coach the Bulls, maybe he'd have found someone else. He sure as hell wouldn't have hired Tim Floyd who was one of the worst coaches I've ever seen in the NBA. Floyd showed that he could overplay crappy veterans even when his team was on pace to win 15 games.

The Bulls locker room was out of control and was known for its poor work ethic and goofing around. Regardless of who Jordan put in charge that wasn't going to happen. Not with MJ looking over it every day.

Of course it may have splintered into other problems from having Jordan's over controlling personality around it. Jordan likely would have wanted to practice constantly with the team and inserted his own drama.

We would have seen Jordan's final comeback

When Jordan got the itch to play again, it wouldn't have been as a Wizard. It would have been as a Bull. If he did so with a team led by Brand and McGrady the results would have been far more interesting than they were for the Wizards as well.

It's unlikely the Bulls would have had enough get past the Lakers, but a core of Brand, McGrady, and Jordan would have made the playoffs and would certainly have had a shot at making it to the finals given the pedestrian competition in the East.

We would have to cope with Jordan's firing

Maybe things would have been different for MJ in a big market. Maybe he would have made more with the Bulls opportunities, but from what we've seen with both the Wizards and Bobcats, Jordan simply isn't that good of a GM.

Eventually, things would have blown up with Jordan, the Bulls would have struggled badly, and Reinsdorf would be forced to fire him. The Bulls are separated from Jordan now, but Bulls fans got to only feel the affects of the best Jordan. They didn't live through him letting them down as a player or a GM.

We never had to root for Reinsdorf to fire Jordan because he was so terrible or say good riddance as he left town. Jordan's legacy as a Bull will always be intact because he never failed here and it would have been sad to see him go out on a negative note in Chicago.

Would 2010 be different? Would the Bulls have drafted Derrick Rose?

Odds are the Jordan butterfly effect is enough that the Bulls never get the #1 pick in the draft. Jordan's likely gone by 2010, and even if he's not, it's unlikely that his presence is enough to lure LeBron James. The most likely scenario is that the team is far weaker and less appealing than it was in what really happened in 2010.

In the end, the present day Bulls are probably better off that they never hired Jordan. Things would have likely never gotten as bad as they did with Krause, and the Bulls likely would have had a big playoff run with an unretired Jordan. However, Bulls fans would have also likely watched Jordan lose rather than conveniently ignoring the Washington years and pretending his lost shot was the championship winner against Utah.

We probably don't have Derrick Rose and also likely add a bunch more bitter Jordan memories rather than happy ones. In the end, things probably worked out for the best even if Jordan wouldn't have been as big a train wreck as Krause in the post Jordan era.

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  • ....yeah... let's get training camp started soon... yeah.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    sorry, no offense intended.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    no offense taken, that's what I was thinking when I wrote it ;)

  • I will be the first to say that I'm happy that Jordan didn't get hired as Bulls GM. And yes the Bulls would've attracted big name free agents if Jordan was hired but Krause had the respect amongst other GM's around the league and the respect of his owner. So myself personally wasn't into all of the GM talk back then until the Bulls championship team was disassembled for no reason what so ever but for Krause ego and the stupid saying from him and his owner that management win championships and not the players. That dumb statement alone has somewhat hurt the Bulls imo as far as attracting big name free agents as we all know today. I know some people will disagree and that's their opinion but I think it does have some truth to it. However I do have much more respect today for Krause as a GM than the Bulls present management cause Krause did make some major moves that brought the Bulls championships. And players like Deng Boozer and Hinrich more than likely would've been gone a long time ago under Krause. You would think that Paxson would know a bit more from the glory days but I guess he couldn't take the pressure and had the owner bring in a co GM to take some of the heat and mistakes in Foreman. At least Krause knew how to run the ship by himself which is why I have much more respect for him and I wish he would've trained Paxson better before he was let go. Today's Bulls management has done an ok job after the disastrous years of 1999 -2006 and the only bright spot has been getting lucky and drafting Rose. I would really hate to think where the Bulls would be if Rose wasn't picked by the Bulls. So at least they got something right in drafting Rose Noah and Butler and hiring Thibs. Now I just hope they can continue to give this team what it will need in bringing in the right "players"... to eventually get to a championship.

  • Hiring Jordan as GM is bad idea jeans.

    Krause was amazing and should go down as one of the best GMs in NBA history. Granted, he was given Jordan, but he drafted and signed and molded the entire roster for 6 of 8 rings and just owned nearly a decade of the NBA. The Bulls were a Hugh Hollins away from seriously challenging for another ring WITHOUT Jordan.

    LeBron in Cleveland and LeBron in Miami show that it's just not that easy. LeBron is a fluke 25 seconds away (game 6) from only having 1 ring. It's just not that easy to win consistent NBA titles even with the undisputed best player in the NBA today and probably top 3-5 player in NBA history.

    Krause's big weakness was not getting along with the players and having them turn on him. The whole Kukoc drama became too public. Perhaps Reinsdorf should have extended guys like Pippen and Jordan before their contracts were up, as they requested. We all know now just how much money the Bulls raked in those days.

    The Chandler-Curry draft set the Bulls back a LONG time. Those guys were immature physically and mentally. Tim Floyd could not control that locker room... would PJ have been able to if we had backed the truck up and paid him and begged him to stay? If the relationship was not so explosive?

    I wish Pax would use Krause as a special assistant.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Agreed. And keep in mind, Krause essentially built two completely separate championship teams; as the 96-98 teams, aside from Joran/Pippen, had an entirely different roster from the 91-93. Pretty impressive, especially for an odd cat like Krause.

    Honestly, if a few things had worked out just a little bit differently, the 90's Bulls could have had a realistic shot of running off 9 or 10 championships...consecutive. That's just sick.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Excellent point about building two 3-peat teams. And in an era when it was a lot tougher than when the Celtics and Lakers had their great teams.

    It is true that the players win the championships, but the organizations get the players and the coaches. So they need each other to become champs. And Krause led the organization back then. If everyone had given him his just due, maybe they could have co-existed for several more years.

    I really never understood what issue Jordan had with Krause. Maybe Krause did not look like an athlete. But he was a genius. The only big mistake he made in that era was drafting Armstrong over Kemp. IF he had picked Kemp, which he was planning to do, the Bulls would likely have had a couple more rings.

    Krause could never beat MJ on the court, but MJ could never take Krause as a GM. I wonder if MJ recognizes that now?

  • Michael doesn't appear to have it in him to manage a professional team. But then again, how many former NBA players have guided a franchise to a championship?

    Even Dumars for his one championship brainstorm uniting Billups, Hamilton, along with the Wallaces(Ben and Rasheed) has made a lot of scratch your head misguided blunders since then.

    Danny Ainge mearley benefited from his friendship with shady Kevin McHale for the Garnett gifting and Ray Ray package.

    And Pax, minus the Rose luck-out, has never brought an in their prime stud scorer let alone top ten player to Chicago. If you want to count B.G. whatever please let's not have another ad nauseum debate(Doug). At 6'1 he had two 45% and above shooting seasons, shaky defense with no All-Star appearances and playoffs wise his field goal numbers were hardly stellar. Still with a second stud scorer he might have been much more effective for that four year run of efficient production he maintained.

    As for a second star for Rose, well post Rip Hamilton and Boozer lite we're still waiting.

    Yes there are Mitch Kupchak and Jerry West along with Larry Bird, but over what the last 20 years or more that's still pretty rare. Until Pax brings in one stud in their prime scorer which he has never done in my book with the 1.9% Rose luck out of a life time, he's an also ran. Dumars will always have that ring so in some sense he has to be considered a success. As for Michael, it's clear with sycophants like Sam Vincent and Rod Higgens he either has no grasp or real commitment to building a successful, winning franchise.

  • Krause would be much, much more respected if it weren't for all the misinformation about him that exists (and people believe) to this day:

    1- Krause didn't say " management win championships and not the players."

    What he said was " 'Players and coaches alone don't win championships, organizations win championships.' I was terribly misquoted. I am an organization man, but a wire-service reporter used the quote without the 'alone' and then everybody picked up on it. Including the team.''

    "What I said in the original quote was players and coaches alone don't win championships," Krause said. "Somebody has to find players and those are scouts. Somebody has to put other players on the floor. Somebody has to keep them in shape and medically take care of them. Somebody has to pay them."

    “What I had said was that coaches and players alone don’t win championships, that organizations do, and Michael and Phil went a little nuts not knowing what I said,” Krause said. “I do believe organizations win AND LOSE.”

    2- "Reinsdorf should have extended guys like Pippen and Jordan before their contracts were up, as they requested." - Since that was forbidden by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, that sure as hell isn't Krause's fault (or Reinsdorf's).

    Under the CBA of that era, the only way to renegotiate a player's contract was if the team was under the salary cap, then they could give the guy a salary up to the salary cap.

    In fact, anyone who knows the real story knows that Krause and Reinsdorf told Pippen NOT to sign the 7-year contract he inked when his rookie deal was up. They knew that he would be underpaid by the end of it, but he wanted the security because he was already having back issues in the summer of 1991 (when he signed the new deal).

    And the Bulls DID re-do Jordan's contract early, even though he never asked them to. MJ made $845k in 87-88 (when the SC was $6.164 million and the Bulls team salary was $5,014,330). They gave MJ a new 8-year deal in the summer of 1988 which paid him $2 million for 1988-89, as the SC went up to $7.232 million for the 88-89 season".
    Michael Jordan, signed a new contract Tuesday with the Bulls, who will pay him an estimated $25 million over the next 8 years, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, and he didn't even need to ask. Jordan, about to enter his fifth pro season, said: "I think it makes me work harder and earn what I'm getting paid--not that I wasn't earning it already."

    The Bulls said that Jordan has never demanded to have his contract renegotiated.

    Owner Jerry Reinsdorf, asked when he thought Jordan deserved a raise, said: "First time I saw him play."

    3- "The only big mistake he made in that era was drafting Armstrong over Kemp. IF he had picked Kemp, which he was planning to do, the Bulls would likely have had a couple more rings."

    Krause didn't pick BJ over Kemp, Shawn Kemp was the #17 pick in the 1989 draft, Krause took BJ at #18.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Good catch, Don, on the Kemp/Armstrong draft. I checked it, of course, and you are correct. For nearly a quarter of a century I have been thinking that the Bulls could have had Kemp at #18, but it must have been at #6 I was thinking of.

    Had they got Kemp instead of Stacey King, the Bulls might have been champs in 1990 as well. Ancient history, for sure.

    I also appreciated the fill-in on the issue between Krause and some Bulls players. However, the reporter misquoting Krause by one word sure caused a lot of grief. That is imperfect humanity.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Don't thank me, I had no idea Krause wanted Kemp during the draft until I read your post and I went and looked it up. I would have sworn that Kemp went several picks higher than BJ, so I learned something as well.

    I only remembered Krause trying to trade Pippen for Kemp later on. Of course I remember that Kemp almost went straight to the NBA but chose to go to Kentucky instead (and only know that as a lifelong UK fan)

    I knew he never played there because he got kicked out of school for something, once I researched it I remember him pawning two gold chains (or some kind of jewelry) that Eddie Sutton's son Sean (who played for UK at the time) had reported stolen.

    I remembered Pippen throwing a fit because the Bulls wouldn't renegotiate his contract, and he bitched and moaned about it in public even though it wasn't possible. And in the days before Al Gore invented the internet, we didn't have instant access to NBA CBA, so naturally Bulls fans all sided with Pip.

    And I didn't remember the Bulls tearing MJ's contract and giving him a huge raise, I just remember Reinsdorf continuing to pay him $3.5 million x 2 to play 0 games in 1993-94, and only like 15-20 games in 1994-95, while he was off playing baseball.

    Cynics will say that Reinsdorf only did it because MJ played for the Sox' AA club in Birmingham so JR was getting his money's worth anyway, but JR had nothing to do with the Barons' ownership.

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