The Chicago Bulls' dynasty, which is currently the topic of "The Last Dance" documentary, ended in 1998. Yet the man who replaced Phil Jackson as the head coach of the Bulls says the wheels were in motion to bring him in well before that campaign.
"He wanted Phil gone," Tim Floyd said of general manager Jerry Krause on ESPN 104.5's "Off The Bench" Monday.
Floyd, who at the time was the head coach at Iowa State, said the Bulls flew him to Seattle, where they were playing the Sonics in the 1996 NBA Finals, for a meeting with team owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
"He basically said, 'Look, Krause wants Phil gone this year, he thinks that (Scottie) Pippen is breaking down his back,'" Floyd said. "He thinks this team has run its course. He doesn't want to overpay these players.'"
At the time, the Bulls were in the process of capping a record-setting 72-10 regular season with their fourth NBA championship in six years.
"Anyhow, I told Jerry Reinsdorf that day walking around downtown, I said 'Jerry, I'm not sure Jerry (Krause) understands that these guys are basically The Beatles,'" Floyd continued. "This is the most popular franchise of all time. I said, 'If I'm you, I would not do this. I would not do this, maybe not even the following year.'
"I said let it die its own natural death because there's certain players and certain teams you just don't break up. And I think these guys have earned the right to let it die its own death.'"
Floyd maintained a longtime friendship with Krause, and he said the executive told him as far back as 1988 that he wanted Floyd to coach the Bulls.
Eventually, Floyd took the reins of Chicago in 1998, just before Michael Jordan retired for the second time, and after Jackson and Pippen had gone their separate ways. His hiring had been rumored in the months beforehand, with Jordan derisively referring to Floyd as "Pink" along the way.
Floyd would last just four seasons in Chicago, compiling a 49-190 record with no postseason appearances. Still, he said Monday that his impact on the franchise is noteworthy.
"I basically take credit for their championships in 1997 and 1998," he said.