Jerry Krause wanted Tim Duncan for post-Michael Jordan Bulls

Jerry Krause wanted to prove his importance to the Bulls dynasty. Chicago’s longtime general manager – who put every key piece of the 1990s Bulls in place, besides Jordan — wanted to prove he could win without the best player of all-time, without Scottie Pippen, without Phil Jackson, all of whom infamously feuded with Krause.

The rebuild which began in 1999 became a colossal failure — defined by the drafting and trading of Elton Brand, the selection of high schoolers Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler, and Jay Williams’ career-ending motorcycle accident — with the Bulls never winning more than 30 games in any of the six seasons following their sixth championship in eight years. But Krause had a shortcut in mind to another championship.

According to former Bulls guard Jamal Crawford, Krause believed he could sign free agents Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady and/or Grant Hill in the summer of 2000.

“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,” Crawford said on “The 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.”

Orlando landed two of them, but McGrady was left to carry the Magic on his own, as Hill spent several seasons hampered by injuries, averaging fewer than 34 games per season during his six years in Florida. Duncan reportedly considered joining the Magic as a free agent, but remained with San Antonio for the entirety of his 19-year career, finishing with five rings.

After two decades with the Bulls, Krause left the sport in 2003, before becoming a scout for the Yankees and Mets, among other teams. He died in 2017.

The Bulls are still searching for their first NBA Finals appearance since “The Last Dance.”