PHILADELPHIA — Who would have thought Jerry Krause’s regime would topple before Saddam Hussein’s? In power since March of 1985, the bellicose Chicago Bulls GM took a well-deserved, long overdue hit Monday — five games before his five-year-old rebuilding permit (following six championship Michael Jordan-emblazoned runs) expired.
Notorious for his megalomania statement, “Organizations win titles, not players,” Krause finally was brought to court by the building inspector. After a half decade of positioning loyalty above the consumer, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf penalized his most trusted employee for some awfully shoddy construction.
Fresh from a Saturday night OT victory over the Bucks, the Bulls sat at 27-50. Meaning Krause can hang his oversized hat on his ex-team’s achievement not to lose at least 61 games for the fourth straight season . . . small consolation for one of the NBA’s most mismatched militias.
Compliments of Krause, who last season traded for an alleged go-to-guy in Bailin’ Jalen Rose (the only thing he regularly goes to is his own stat line) and drafted a supposedly mature Jay Williams — beaten up by losing and beaten out by Jamal Crawford whom Krause was dying to trade for the last couple of seasons.
Not that the Babyback Bulls lack pizzazz and promise. At times, Eddy Curry, Tyson Chandler, Crawford, Williams and Marcus Fizer (another lottery pick on Krause’s most unwanted list) all have demonstrated extended flashes of radiance and insurgency; there’s a fervent feeling within the club’s hierarchy, sources inform me, that Bill Cartwright, may not be composed enough to coach at this level or competent enough to command the respect of his pupils.
In view of the enduring negativity attached to Krause (his exodus should briefly halt an eroding season ticket base) and another scheduled trip to the Draft Lottery, Reinsdorf no doubt felt the time was ripe to zap Krause before the Babybacks got a chance to put more meat on their ribs and realize their potential; this was the perfect opening for a split.
And like a good soldier, Krause fabricated “health problems” as grounds for exiting. A bit of a stretch, agreed? I mean, has anyone in the league looked unhealthier all these years? Even when Krause was winning big he looked sick.
No need to fake anguish all at once. There figures to be plenty of opportunities for a man of Krause’s acumen. In fact, I understand New York Knicks chairman James Dolan is on the phone right now.
The next outcry you hear will be the city of Chicago howling for Reinsdorf to romance Jordan back into the fold by offering him a piece of the franchise and full front office clout . . . as if His Airness has done anything mildly praiseworthy in assembling the Pinball Wizards.
Dating back to his early glory days as a Bull, Jordan was a terrible talent scout; I remember his regrettable trade and free agent recommendations all too well. M.J.’s current roster is but the latest confirmation of such misjudgment.
No, if I’m Reinsdorf I continue to do what I’ve been doing all along, ignore public sentiment and, instead (no disrespect to B.J. Armstrong, a valued GM apprentice) entice John Paxson to come out from behind the Bulls’ radio microphone.
A highly regarded contributing member of Jordan’s “supporting cast” in the early 1990s (his 3-pointer in Game 6 eliminated the Suns in 1993), Paxson rejected several overtures from Krause to become an assistant/head coach-in-progress for the sake of family stability.
I’m not convinced Paxson will accept, but his aptitude, integrity and sociability definitely make him the leading candidate to replace Krause who was last seen outside the United Center trying to overturn Jordan’s statue.
So, Paul Allen has decided eight or nine or a dozen or so Blazer Black Marks are more than enough stains on his franchise. And to think I was naive to take the over/under (before the owner orates) at one.
“Let there be no mistake that unacceptable conduct will not be condoned,” Allen allowed in a rare personal touch (he faxed) to The Oregonian newspaper over the weekend. “Everyone on the Blazer payroll will tackle this issue head on and we are prepared to suspend players, levy heavy fines and trade or release a player if that becomes necessary . . . the community deserves a team of which we can all be proud.”
I’ve prepared two questions for my private audience with Allen:
How can you possibly blame the players without taking so much as a pot shot at the mastermind who amassed this melange of outlaws — Blazers president Bob Whitsitt?
Had these numerous offenses happened at Microsoft when you were in charge, how fast would you have deleted those motherboards?
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