Make your case
Bulls finally get to see Odom workout
Posted: Monday June 28, 1999 07:20 PM
Do you want to know a secret? Bulls GM Jerry Krause (left) and owner Jerry Reinsdorf are keeping their draft choices to themselves. Jonathan Daniel/Allsport
CHICAGO (AP) -- In years past, this would have been the week the Chicago Bulls caused a clamor in the city, hoisting trophies to the adoring thousands who gathered in Grant Park for a championship celebration.
Instead, Bulls management was finishing its homework Monday, planning to watch mystery man Lamar Odom work out, considering trade offers and comparing notes in preparation for the NBA draft on Wednesday night.
General manager Jerry Krause, known for his secrecy, insisted the Bulls did not know what they would do with the No. 1 pick. Chicago also owns the 16th pick and two picks in the second round.
"There is a very good possibility we will not make any decision on our draft choice until Wednesday afternoon," Krause said.
"We've had a lot of phone calls from the better teams. But those things are not productive because they don't have the draft choices we want to eventually acquire. Whatever we do, if we make a move, it will be with a team that's fairly high in the draft."
So if the Bulls don't trade, who might they take? Exciting Maryland guard Steve Francis? Duke's consensus player of the year, Elton Brand? A scorer like Miami's Wally Szczerbiak or Rhode Island's long-armed, 6-foot-11 Odom, considered by many to be the top talent in a draft without an impact player?
Odom seemed to reverse course after announcing for the draft and was apparently thinking about returning to school. He's refused to take a physical and skipped scheduled workouts with some teams, including the Bulls.
Chicago assistant coach Frank Hamblen was on his way to Providence, R.I., on Monday to watch the 19-year-old Odom work out. Krause and coach Tim Floyd said they expected to talk with the player on Tuesday.
Krause said the Bulls have seen Odom play close to 20 times in the last two years. He tried to draw a comparison with another troubled player, Dennis Rodman, saying the former rebounding champion "was a character who had character" and was fine once the game started.
"As long as the young man is basically a good person -- and Dennis was basically a very good person -- you can see there are different ways of evaluating people. We don't evaluate anybody until you speak to them," Krause said.
He said the Bulls brought in more than 35 players to interview, test and work out, spending two or three days with the top prospects.
"What we are going to get in this draft hopefully is a building block or blocks toward what we have to do," Krause said.
After six titles in the 1990s, the NBA lockout and then Michael Jordan's retirement, the Bulls struggled to a 13-37 season. They did stockpile draft choices and have about $20 million available under the salary cap. Teams can sign free agents beginning Aug. 1.
Floyd has said he'd prefer to keep the top draft choice rather than trade and was impressed with several of the potential top picks he met.
No one is sure if Odom could become one of those, even though his talent as passer, scorer and ball handler at his size is indisputable.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.