Have you updated the Win2000 in the guest to SP3 or 4? I forget which one is the minimum required to run.
I have / had the same problem.
There are two similar questions on this forum, but alas the links to Microsoft they provide are waaay outdated and don't work anymore:
So I searched the Microsoft site directly: Explore
The first hit helped to solve the problem: Microsoft Update Catalog
I downloaded the patch for Windows 2000, transferred it to the virtual machine, and run it. After reboot, the VMware Tools installed just fine.
Supplement: I'd recommend to store the downloaded file somewhere, I wouldn't count on Microsoft keeping it forever.