Chicago Bulls: 5 Biggest Free-Agent Busts in Franchise History

Michael GibbonsCorrespondent IIOctober 6, 2011

Chicago Bulls: 5 Biggest Free-Agent Busts in Franchise History

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    Every team has good signings and bad.

    Every GM has a guy they overpaid thinking he had great potential.

    During the Bulls' first 30 or so years they didn't have too many of those bad contracts. However, after 1998 there were almost too many to choose from.

    General manager Jerry Krause did a masterful job putting the right pieces around Michael Jordan and winning three straight championships. Then he arguably did an even better job rebuilding it and winning another three titles.

    However, after the NBA lockout ended Krause and the Bulls made a lot of bad choices. Far too much money was invested on guys based on potential or had injury concerns and these are some of the worst.

Donyell Marshall

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    Donyell Marshall wasn't awful but he sure didn't live up to that three year $15 million deal he signed in 2003.

    Marshall was brought in to help the Bulls through the growing pains of Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler. He only appeared in 94 games for the Bulls before being traded to Toronto in December of 2004.

    Overall his numbers weren't bad that first year averaging 13 points and nine rebounds but his production didn't help the team win; however, that second season before the trade he was only averaging eight points and six rebounds.

    The trading of Marshall along with Jalen Rose to the Raptors was the start of John Paxson's rebuilding of the Bulls.

Eddie Robinson

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    Seriously what the hell was Jerry Krause thinking when he signed Eddie Robinson to a five year $32 million contract?

    What did the Bulls get for their investment? They got 144 games in three seasons before John Paxson convinced owner Jerry Reinsdorf to buy out the remaining two seasons. That is how bad this signing was, they paid Robinson to just go away.

    Robinson had two decent seasons coming off the bench in Charlotte and at 6'9" Krause saw potential. He probably saw the same potential he saw in Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler.

    Even when Robinson was healthy he was out of shape or feuding with coaches.

    Again, like Marshall, he was part of the house cleaning Paxson did during that 2003-2004 season.

Brent Barry

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    Brent Barry spent one very forgettable season in Chicago.

    The Jordan era had come to an end, the NBA lockout had ended and Jerry Krause had to put a team together so he invested six years and $27 million in Brent Barry.

    Barry appeared in 37 of the 50 games during that lockout shortened season starting 30 of them. He was signed to a team with Toni Kukoc and to be the white version of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

    Barry had his worst shooting season of his career hitting on only 30 percent of his three pointers while hitting on under 40 percent from the field. For his career, he hit 46 percent from the field and 40 percent from long distance.

    He was traded in August of 1999 to Seattle for Hersey Hawkins and James Cotton.

Ron Mercer

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    After the Brent Berry experiment failed miserably Krause decided to spend big money on a guy who couldn't stay healthy.

    He signed Ron Mercer to a four year $27 million deal in the summer of 2000.

    Mercer played in 101 games before being traded to the Pacers for Jalen Rose. The funniest thing about Mercer is that when he was healthy he started almost every game he played in until he left the Bulls.

    During his first season in Chicago he had a career year playing 40 minutes a night and scoring nearly 20 but again injuries were his biggest problem.

    Mercer was traded to the Pacers at the trading deadline in 2002 along with Ron Artest and Brad Miller.

Ben Wallace

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    Unlike the other guys on this list Ben Wallace actually helped the Bulls achieve some success on the floor.

    During the summer of 2006 general manager John Paxson signed a 32-year-old Ben Wallace to a four year $60 million deal.

    He appeared in 127 games, starting them all, and averaged 5.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.0 blocks per game.  During his first season he averaged over 10 rebounds a game and helped the Bulls upset the defending champion Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

    However, the following season everything fell apart for the Bulls with young players underachieving and Wallace feuding with head coach Scott Skiles which led to the coach being fired.