The late Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause was the architect of arguably the greatest basketball team ever. He was also the one who dismantled it. Krause did not have the best of relationship with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and especially coach Phil Jackson.
It was Krause’s decision not to renew Jackson’s contract early before 1997-98 season. The Bulls had their eyes set on a second three-peat but regardless of how the season was going to end, the GM was not going to change his stance. He held firm to his position even when Jordan publicly said he would leave Chicago after the season ends if Jackson is replaced with another coach.
The Bulls won their second three-peat in 1998 by defeating the Utah Jazz in the Finals, Jackson’s contract was not renewed, MJ had retired and the team had been dismantled. Despite the success of previous years, Krause’s name is mostly associated with the last years of the dynasty and how his ego prevented Chicago from winning even more titles.
But, according to Pippen, Krause was still the greatest general manager in the game because he was the one who built the team that won six titles in eight years and went down in history as one of the greatest dynasties.
“We can’t knock him, we gotta give him credit. And he deserves credit because he was the general manager of those teams. I’ve had a lot of great people in my life and that’s why my success happened. I played with Phil Jackson, the greatest coach in the game. Michael Jordan, the greatest player in the game. Jerry Krause, obviously the greatest general manager in the game.”