|Tuesday, November 13
Updated: November 16, 12:37 PM ET
Someone needs to take fall for Bulls disaster
By Jeffrey Denberg
Special to ESPN.com
What is Jerry Krause doing and why is Jerry Reinsdorf allowing him to do it?
Those are the questions they should be asking in Chicago today.
How can an NBA team lose by 53 points and why wasn't Tim Floyd shown the door at halftime?
Somebody explain that.
And why wasn't Krause shown the door with his fishing buddy?
And what is Charles Oakley doing back in the Windy City, anyway? Like they needed that sour, dyspeptic, old windbag to take a couple of millionaire teenagers under his wing. Right.
What is Oakley going to teach them: How to gripe? How to be sullen? How to be utterly disrespectful of anyone you disagree with? How to be washed up?
I would have fired Krause for forcing MJ and Phil out of town.
I would have fired Krause for hiring Pink Floyd in the first place. And then I would have fired Floyd for hiring guys named Jim Wooldridge and Norm Ellenberger and Phil L. Johnson, who know as little about dealing with NBA players as he does.
Then I would have fired Krause again.
But this Oakley business?
Krause knows all about Charles Oakley. He drafted him, like he drafted or traded for or signed every single Chicago Bull of the last 16 years EXCEPT Michael Jordan.
Admittedly, I, like most of my ilk, am predisposed to dislike Jerry Krause for his absurdly secretive ways and his avuncular personality. The Sleuth, named for Inspector Clouseau, has been caught embellishing his own image, repeatedly drafting bad players and now rehiring Charles Oakley at $7.3 million. For what? Clear cap room next season? Belittle his poor, under-equipped coach? Intimidate the opposition?
What was Krausie thinking when he introduced Oakley last summer as the veteran leader for his team.
This is the same Charles Oakley who ran up to Tyrone Hill, then of the 76ers, during pre-game warm-ups for an exhibition game at Chapel Hill and whacked him from behind. Hill owed him money and, according to Oakley, still does.
This is the same Charles Oakley who whacked Jeff McInnis as the Raptors and Clippers exchanged places on the court for pre-game shootaround. This time it was over a woman.
This is the same Charles Oakley who allegedly roughed up a woman in an Atlanta bar.
Sure is great having Oak playing in Elton Brand's old spot, isn't it? Sure is great seeing Elton establish himself as the leader of a nice young Clippers team, isn't it?
Sure is nice having that teenager Chandler griping about his minutes. Gee, think he learned something from that savvy veteran leader, Oakley?
Krausie, you got your props.
But Charles Oakley? For MJ's sake, Krausie, Lenny Wilkens couldn't deal with the guy. He went after the winningest coach of all-time for his practice habits, went after Vince Carter because for being selfish, then got into it with Carter's mother.
And you brought this old pit bull back to town and said, "Here, Timmy, I got you a pet. But don't pet him, Timmy. He bites."
That wasn't Krause's first mistake. Moving Brand to draft Tyson Chandler with pudgy Eddy Curry isn't going to pay off any time soon, if it pays off at all. Reminds some, in fact, of Krause's 1989 draft. That's when he took in Stacey King, B.J. Armstrong and Jeff Sanders. Or maybe it mirrors Krause's triumph in 2000. With Nos. 4, 7 and 24 in his pudgy hands, Krause drafted Marcus Fizer, who may be best remembered as the most absurdly tattooed guy who couldn't play in the history of the NBA, plus Jamal Crawford, who learned nothing as a rookie and then tore up his knee, and Dalibor Bagaric, who is a big stiff, literally, not a flexible move in the guy's arsenal.
Krause's independent thinking coach had Fizer at Iowa State. He could have warned his fishing pal. But Floyd didn't know enough about the NBA to know that Fizer is too slow and lacks the ups to compete at this level. Maybe he still doesn't know. He's got Fizer out there as his starting small forward. Imagine, Larry Bird, James Worthy and Dominique Wilkins played the same position.
Floyd protects Bagaric and Fizer (yeah, sounds like a drug company) because they were first-round draft picks last year. Whoopee.
"If we were winning and I'm sitting on the bench, I would be fine," Chandler said. "I could understand that. But if I'm not playing and we're losing, it's bad. You want to be out there and contribute."
So, why isn't Floyd back at Iowa State or some place like Austin Peay or sitting in a boat on a lake with his line in the water?
Oh, that's coming. The smart guys in Chicago say it won't be long now. The guy who blew by Brian Winters to become the fastest man to 100 losses (a nifty 45-169 at season's start) is the fall guy in this, according to a couple of guys who understand the Law of the Jerrys. Floyd was brought in to take the heat, deflect public invective from the Jerrys while the kids start up the learning curve.
When the heat of public and media pressure is turned up a little higher or when the kids show maybe they have learned something (fat chance under Floyd), then somebody like Bill Cartwright, the best basketball man remaining in Chicago, will take over. Finally, a guy with a clue.
Sunday, Floyd said he and Oakley "kissed and made up."
Please, not that.
Let's see if Oakley tries to kiss Mr. Bill.
Jeffrey Denberg, who covers the NBA for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is a regular contributor to ESPN.com.