SPORTS

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July 19, 2002

An open letter to Jerry Krause, with love

Dear Jason Williams and Jerry Krause:

Now that the two of you have been tragically paired as star rookie and manager, I have but a few suggestions on how you can bring the dynasty back to Chi-Town. So listen closely and please do not laugh at my frank suggestions.

What you should do to fix the mess Jerry has made:

First, on the list of many things to do this summer, you need to somehow unload Eddie Robinson, Jamal Crawford, and Dalibor Bagaric for comparable players or draft picks. The three have managed to rack up more injuries on them than the oft-injured fab trio Grant Hill, Penny Hardaway, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

Dump Crawford, Robinson, and Bagaric to the following already interested teams for non-protected first-round draft picks: the Washington Wizards, Golden State Warriors, and Cleveland Cavaliers. Jordan has already shown an interest in Crawford and Jamal has been seen chumming it up with MJ in his Chicago gym. Jerry, I'm sure you would not be pleased to give away your "pet-player," but Elton Brand's trade a season ago suggests no one on the Bulls roster is untouchable. If the teams mentioned above balk at giving away first-round lottery picks for one player, package them. Do whatever it takes to get rid of these absolutely bench-riding, paper-flimsy players.

Getting rid of Crawford, Robinson, and Bagaric does the following for the Bulls. First, it frees up enough salary cap space and brings enough flexibility for you to contend in next year's free agent bonanza: Brand, Alonzo Mourning, Jason Kidd, Tim Duncan, Steve Francis, and Lamar Odom (need I list more?) will all be free agents next summer. You need to make substantial changes to your roster to free up enough space to give these franchise caliber free agents the lucrative deals they want. Only the Los Angeles Clippers and the Chicago Bulls are in the position to do that this and next season. With Bagaric, Robinson, and Crawford gone, you are left with players absolutely brimming with potential, and movable veterans who do not carry over-paid salaries.

The second thing expelling these three does is follow the already-patented Los Angeles Clippers method of rebuilding—stockpile young talent and mix in worthwhile key players to make a championship-caliber team. The elements are there for the Bulls. Chandler, Curry, and now you, Jay, are going to be the core to work with. Jerry just needs to add a substantially good free agent to make the Bulls worthwhile contenders.

The only way I can see this plan of attracting free agents failing is if Jerry does his "thang." For the past three offseasons, every possible quality free agent has spurned the Bulls because Jerry fucked it up in some sort of fashion that resulted in the Bulls getting used or played. This is why I suggest Plan B.

Plan B is that you work with what you can to get what you need. Allen Iverson has been getting into trouble lately (see throwing wife out of the house naked, brandishing a gun on cousins, and threatening family members). In short, he hasn't been a model citizen in Philly. Despite their constant denials, the Sixers are, no doubt, probably looking to trade their little bad boy very soon.

I can only suggest that the Bulls hit that $#*@ up!

Jalen Rose for Iverson plus change? Whatever shall work? Jerry, you could include Trenton Hassell, Marcus Fizer, anyone other than Chandler, Curry, and Jay, in the trade. I'm not sure the Sixers would fall for it, but why not? If you could land Iverson, you instantly make the Bulls a power to be reckoned with. Imagine this lineup—Jay, Iverson, Crawford (if he is not traded), Chandler, and Curry. You not only have a team that can run and gun but an extremely potent and athletic team that can dominate in the middle.

There are so many pluses with Iverson—he has athleticism, brings immediate offense, and puts more people in the stands—that if by a stroke of luck the deal goes down, Jerry is a shoo-in for executive of the year.

Knowing that I'm offering suggestions to a nitwit like you, however, I offer plan C.

The two of you milk the Clippers for all they are worth. For weeks, the Clippers have been trying to negotiate a deal with Cleveland to trade for Andre Miller. They have been offering Lamar Odom, Corey Magette, Darius Miles, or Chris Wilcox for Miller. Each time the deal has been close to settling, the Clippers owner nixes the deal. Using Crawford, Robinson, and future draft picks as bait, you should trade with Cleveland and Clippers so that everyone gets what they need. Cleveland gets a slew of first-round draft picks from the Bulls and Clippers, L.A. gets their coveted Miller, and you get Odom and Maggette or Miles and Wilcox, whoever is offered.

There is much that can be won by all three sides. The Cavs don't appreciate their budding all-star, Miller; so they want to dump him for a better chance at Akron high-schooler Lebron James in next year's draft. The Clippers need their missing piece in the point guard position to get in the playoffs. You need an athletic small forward, after you either dump Crawford or trade whoever you can to get Odom.

If you really work it and both trades for Iverson and Odom work, the Bulls lineup would feature Jay Williams, Allen Iverson, Lamar Odom, Tyson Chandler, and Eddy Curry, with Maggette or Wilcox coming off the bench.

Well, that pretty much wraps up the few suggestions I have for the two of you. Jay, I wish you the best of luck on your blissful player/manager marriage to Jerry. Jerry, do not, for the love of God, screw this up.

Much love,

Mr. Yeah