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The Last Dance

Who is Jerry Krause? Fast facts on the architect of the Chicago Bulls' dynasty

Krause
General Manager Jerry Krause arrives before Game 4 of the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. [Getty Images]

Jerome "Jerry" Krause was the man behind the scenes who built the Chicago Bulls dynasty. Krause spent 18 seasons as the general manager of the Bulls, helping them win six championships in his time.

So who is Jerry Krause? Here are some fast facts on the GM of the Michael Jordan-era Bulls.

Background

Krause was born in Chicago, Illinois on April 6, 1939. He played baseball in high school and later attended Bradley University, the same university that produced Hall of Famer Chet Walker, sharpshooter Hersey Hawkins, former Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger and former Toronto Raptors players Anthony Parker and Patrick O'Bryant.

Krause would get his start in the NBA as a scout with the Baltimore Bullets. He would later work with the Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers and the Bulls before leaving the sport to scout baseball. His claim to fame was finding Hall of Famer Earl Monroe.

Time with the Bulls

Krause returned to basketball, becoming the general manager of the Bulls on March 26, 1985. His first move was firing head coach Kevin Loughery, who spent two seasons at the helm, going 65-99. He hired Stan Albeck to replace him. Albeck would last just one season and be replaced by Doug Collins.

In 1987-88 the Bulls would have their first 50-win season since 1973-74. Krause won his first of two NBA Executive of the Year Awards. His second would come almost 10 years later in 1995-96 after the Bulls went a then-record 72-10 in the regular season. The 2015-16 Golden State Warriors would later eclipse the mark with a 73-9 season.

Krause and the Bulls would capture their first of six titles in 1990-91 with his last championship coming in the 1997-98 season.

Notable Transactions

At the end of the 1988-89 season, after the Bulls had failed to get past the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals, Krause fired coach Doug Collins, replacing him with Phil Jackson.

Here are some other notable transactions Krause made in his time as GM of the Bulls:

  • Signed John Paxson in October 1985
  • Selected Horace Grant 10th overall in the 1987 NBA Draft
  • Traded for Scottie Pippen on draft day of the 1987 NBA Draft
  • Traded Charles Oakley, a 1988 first-round pick and a 1988 third-round pick to the New York Knicks for Bill Cartwright, a 1988 first-round pick and a 1988 third-round pick
  • Selected Stacy King (6th pick) and B.J. Armstrong (18th pick) in the 1989 NBA Draft
  • Selected Toni Kukoc (29th pick) in the 1990 NBA Draft
  • Signed free agents Bill Wennington and Steve Kerr in September 1993
  • Traded Stacy King to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Luc Longley in February 1994
  • Signed free agent Ron Harper in September 1994
  • Traded Will Perdue to the San Antonio Spurs for Dennis Rodman in October 1995
  • Hired Tim Floyd as head coach in January 1999 (lockout season)
  • Traded Steve Kerr in January 1999 to San Antonio Spurs for Chuck Person and a 2000 first-round pick
  • Traded Scottie Pippen in January 1999 to Houston Rockets for Roy Rogers and a 2000 second-round pick
  • Selected Elton Brand (1st pick), Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace (16th pick) in 1999 NBA Draft
  • Selected Eddy Curry ( 4th pick) in the 2001 NBA Draft
  • Traded Elton Brand to the Los Angeles Clippers for Tyson Chandler and Brian Skinner on draft night in 2001
  • Traded Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace, Ron Mercer, Brad Miller and Kevin Ollie to the Indiana Pacers for Travis Best, Norm Richardson, Jalen Rose and a 2002 second-round pick in February 2002
  • Selected Jay Williams (2nd pick) in the 2002 NBA Draft

Post Bulls

Krause would retire from the GM role with the Bulls on April 7, 2003. He would return to baseball, working with both the New York Yankees and Mets. He also spent time with the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks.

On March 21, 2017, Krause died at the age of 77.

He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017 under the contributor category.

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