Chicago Bulls: 3 worst free agent signings ever by Jerry Krause

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images) /
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Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images /

2. Ron Mercer, Small Forward

Here we begin the part of the list that featured the downfall of Krause with the Bulls in the early 2000’s. There was not one single free agent signing that failed or one bad draft pick that caused the Bulls to go through a lengthy and originally unsuccessful rebuild in the early 2000’s. Letting go of the likes of Jordan, Pippen, and former head coach Phil Jackson too early is a big reason for the poor transition after the dynasty years.

One of the original poor free agent signings for the Bulls in this portion of the rebuild at the turn of the century is former Kentucky Wildcats 6-foot-7 small forward Ron Mercer. The sixth overall pick of the Boston Celtics in the 1997 NBA Draft didn’t help the Bulls accomplish much of anything in the early 2000’s.

Mercer was signed as a free agent by Krause and the Bulls during the 2000 offseason. He played two seasons in the Windy City on a contract worth well over $11 million. In those two seasons, Mercer averaged 18.6 points per game, 3.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.1 turnovers, 1.1 steals, and 0.4 blocks, while shooting 42.8 percent from the field and 30.1 percent from beyond the arc.

Sure, the overall points per game that Mercer posted with the Bulls in bits and pieces of two regular seasons looked pretty good on the surface. But the advanced numbers showed how inefficient he actually was in a Bulls uniform. He registered a -2.8 box plus/minus rating, -0.8 value over replacement player rating, and just .009 win shares per 48 minutes in his run with the Bulls.