The curse of Krause

Originally Published: April 20, 2004
By Chad Ford | NBA Insider
Jerry Krause is sitting in the bleachers of a high school baseball stadium about three rows above the dugout in Omaha, Neb. After a few dozen hot dogs, he picks up the phone, calls his new boss, George Steinbrenner, and gives him the low down on the latest prospects.

One 17-year-old pitcher has the biggest hands he's ever seen, Krause gushes. Another may be only 5-foot-3, but he has a "short neck," Krause opines.

A few minutes later he calls back hyperventilating about a 7-foot skinny junior high school catcher who can hit the hell out of a wiffle ball. "Trade Jeter for him!" Krause screams. "Trade Jeter for him!"

Four hundred and sixty eight miles away, John Paxson sits in the Berto Center, banging his head lightly against his mahogany desk, still trying to clean up Jerry's last mess.

The undersized power forward with the biggest hands Krause had ever seen now plays for the Clippers and averages a double-double. The guy with the short neck, Marcus Fizer, is packing his bags after four miserable years in Chicago. The skinny 7-footer? Tyson Chandler looked great against scared, 6-3 suburban kids in junior high. Against NBA talent? Not so much.

The hit list of Jerry's handiwork doesn't stop there. There's Eddie Robinson, whom Krause gave millions to sit on the bench. There's Eddy Curry, whose offseason workout regime consists of Twinkies and Kool-Aid IVs. And don't forget Jamal Crawford, the 6-5 point guard who isn't allowed to play the point.

Jerry's kids were supposed to lead the Bulls to another dynasty in the post-MJ era. Paxson's step-kids need to be sent back down to the minors.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer