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Jamal Crawford recalls Bulls wanting to sign Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady, Grant Hill

Bulls, Jamal Crawford, Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Jerry Krause

Jamal Crawford came to the Chicago Bulls in 2000, drafted as a top-10 selection two years into the post-Michael Jordan era. Being there gave him the window to see Jerry Krause plotting to reel in would-be Hall of Famers Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady, and Grant Hill — all in one season.

Crawford explained how Krause intended to turn a Bulls rebuilding year into an accelerated flip.

Via Jack Baer of Yahoo Sports:

“My first year and second year, we’re the youngest team in the league, right? And the fans knew, like, ‘OK, it’s going to be a rebuilding year.’ But my rookie year, Jerry thought he was going to get Grant Hill, Tim Duncan and T-Mac,” said Crawford as a guest of The Platform Basketball Podcast.

“So, obviously, MJ just retired, right? We have all this cap space, and so we have all these rookies. And he was like — go back and look, I guarantee Grant, Tim and T-Mac were all free agents. And Jerry wholeheartedly believed we would get all three of them. Even if we get two of them at the time, boom.

Hearing Crawford say this about the late Bulls GM just calls for one thought: delusions of grandeur.

Krause has been accused of thinking the Bulls could reel in free agents for way less than market value. According to another former player close to the situation, Krause low-balled McGrady and Jermaine O’Neal, who was also among the list of would-be free agents back then.

Krause was hoping that the six Bulls titles in the ’90s would be enough to sell players into coming to a championship organization — but he was dead wrong. Once Michael Jordan walked away from the game during his second retirement, out went the championships and the prestige the Bulls had in the eyes of many, especially after other key cogs like Scottie Pippen and Steve Kerr went out after that 1997-98 three-peat season.

To think Krause could reel in three would-be perennial All-Stars just on past merits is as next-level cuckoo as it gets. The Bulls didn’t get any of those players, and they haven’t returned to the NBA Finals since the Jordan era.