The Last Dance Rebuild

Harley Kock
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@harleyK_11

Sunday, May 24, 2020


What did the Chicago Bulls General Manager, Jerry Krause, do following the 1998 championship?

 

 

Everyone who watched the documentary was left with this final screen...

 

The only information about the Chicago Bulls rebuild shown in The Last Dance documentary. Photo via Netflix

 

But what happened to the players who moved on? We all know the Bulls haven't won a championship since, but was the rebuild that bad?

 

Phil Jackson

On December 25, 2008, Jackson became the fastest coach to win 1,000 games, doing so in 1,423 contests. Photo via Blake Little.

 

I'll keep Jackson’s part short. Any basketball fan knows he moved from Jordan and Pippen to Shaq and Kobe. One more three-peat ensued, and five total championships with the LA Lakers brought his Head Coaching total to a record 11 times hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy. His executive career didn’t go as planned, but his Legacy as a coach is unlike any other.

 

Scottie Pippen

Pippen averaged just under 12ppg after leaving the Bulls in 1998. Photo via. BlazersEdge.

 

Scottie, Scottie, Scottie, even Jordan at the end of the documentary remarks it would have been hard to convince Pippen to come back. He was traded to the Houston Rockets in a sign-and-trade that Krause later called, “a favour”, because Scottie got more than $20 million more than he could of by just signing a contract with Houston. The Bulls got back Roy Rogers and a second-round pick. Rogers never played a game for Chicago.

 

Pippen played one season with the Houston Rockets and four with the Portland Trail Blazers. He returned to the Bulls in 2003 after Krause resigned, appearing in 23 games. Pippen was never quite the same player, but helped Portland to four straight playoff berths, including pushing Jackson’s championship winning Lakers to a deciding game seven in 2000.

 

Dennis Rodman

In 12 games with the Dallas Mavericks Rodman received six technical fouls, was ejected twice, and served a one-game suspension. Photo via. TheSmokingCuban.

 

Rodman was released by the Bulls. He rejoined Jackson, signing with the Los Angeles Lakers for a brief run in the lockout shortened 1999 season. He ended his playing career the following year with the Dallas Mavericks. Rodman played 35 NBA games after leaving the Bulls.

 

Following his playing days, Rodman notably established a friendship with the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, and visited the country several times. The Rodman stories are seemingly endless, but most of them have nothing to do with basketball.

 

 

 

Steve Kerr

Kerr is still the league's all-time leader in career three-point shooting percentage, at .454%. Photo via. NYDailyNews.

 

Steve Kerr was sent to the San Antonio Spurs as part of a sign-and-trade for Chuck Person and a 2000 first-round pick. Person never played a game for the Bulls.

 

Kerr won a championship the following year. He had a one year reunion with Pippen in Portland for the 2001-02 season where the Trailblazers were swept by Jackson’s Lakers in the first round. Kerr returned to the Spurs the next year for his fifth championship in his final season as a player.

Kerr began his coaching career with the Golden State Warriors in 2015, with a 67-15 record and an NBA Championship. In 2017, Kerr’s Warriors set an NBA all-time record with a 73-9 season, beating out his playing record with the Bulls of 72-10.

 

Jerry Krause’s Chicago Bulls

On March 21, 2017, Krause tragically died at the age of 77 after dealing with several health issues. Photo via LATimes.

 

The team dealt away Centre Luc Longley to the Phoenix Suns for Mark Bryant, Martin Muursepp, Bubba Wells and a 1999 first-round draft pick. Only Bryant ever played a game for the Bulls. Krause resigned his General Manager Duties in 2003 after several tough seasons.

 

 

1998-99: 13-37 record under head coach Tim Floyd

1999-2000: 17-65 record under Tim Floyd

2000-01: 15-67 record under Tim Floyd

2001-02: 21-61 record under coaches Tim Floyd, Bill Berry and Bill Cartwright

2002-03: 30-52 record under Bill Cartwright

 

The rebuild wasn’t all bad. Some great picks in the 1999 draft, Elton Brand at number one and Ron Artest at 16th, but both played the best basketball of their careers elsewhere. 

Chicago surprisingly traded their best player at the time, Brand, for Tyson Chandler after just two seasons. The athletic centre Chandler spent five seasons with the Bulls before bouncing around throughout his career.

The 2000 draft was much worse, the team selected Marcus Fizer at fourth, Dalibor Bagaric at 24th and A.J. Guyton, Jake Voskuhl and Khalid El-Amin in the second round. None spent more than four seasons in Chicago or had notable careers.

In 2001, Chicago picked Eddy Curry at fourth and Trenton Hassell at 30th. Hassel was gone after two years, but Curry had a decent four year run with Chicago before playing his best ball with the New York Knicks.

2002 was rough. Jay Williams at second, Roger Mason and Lonny Baxter in the second round. Williams had a motorcycle crash ending his career as a rookie. Mason and Baxter spent two seasons with Chicago before being traded to Toronto.

The Bulls didn’t return to the playoffs until 2005, led by top ten picks Eddy Curry, Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng.