Interesting read from K.C. Johnson:
"Phil Jackson was on his way out of basketball. Krause spotted him
coaching the Albany Patroons. Phil wrote in one of his books he had
given up any chance of getting back in the NBA. He was about to go to
law school when Krause came after him. I also remember one of the things
Jerry said to me when I was interviewing him for the job was he was
going to get Tex Winter. I didn't know the triangle from a quadrangle.
But look at all the great teams he built."
Krause once told me
the roster he inherited from Rod Thorn in March 1985 featured Jordan and
11 players he wanted elsewhere. So he went to work.
In his 18 years with the Bulls, he drafted Charles Oakley, Horace
Grant, B.J. Armstrong, Perdue, Toni Kukoc and Elton Brand, among others.
He signed Ron Harper, John Paxson, Steve Kerr, Bill Wennington, Jud
Buechler, Randy Brown, Robert Parish and Brian Williams, among others.
And he traded for Pippen's draft rights, Bill Cartwright, Luc Longley
What an interesting debate. Some of his moves fall into the among the greatest moves of all time, and he clearly deserves quite a bit of credit for bringing the dynasty together.
Trading for Scottie Pippen? One of the all time great trades in the NBA.
Bringing in Tex Winter and Phil Jackson, guys he personally sought out and tried to get, among the greatest GM moves (and most unlikely) in the history of the NBA.
Getting Toni Kukoc from Europe? An ahead of the curve move around the league. Krause got an elite talent out of Europe before it was cool.
He doesn't get credit for Horace Grant, whom he didn't want but only took because the coaching staff begged him, and while the team had other role players who helped out and memorable people, and Krause brought them in, the rest of the moves were largely of the variety that any GM probably would have made them.
Trading Will Perdue for Dennis Rodman turned out to be one of the great
trades in the NBA, but it was a win/win, and the trade was only possible because of the situation. It was the type of move any GM would have done, so I don't give him that much credit for it despite the obvious 'steal' nature of it.
The case for Krause in the Hall of Fame largely hinges on Pippen, Kukoc, Jackson, and Winter. Those are the moves that Krause really got some form of extreme value where he didn't just fall into them, but actively went out and made something happen that another GM likely would not have done.
Four moves may not sound like much, but where is this Bulls franchise without those moves? I think they'd still win at least a couple of titles behind Jordan and competent moves elsewhere, but would they have won six? Probably not.
Would a head coach of someone other than Jackson been able to keep everyone motivated? I don't really think so. Even if the Bulls found another player as talented as Pippen would he have bought in to being #2 next to Jordan and found peace? Maybe not.
Jordan was the nexus point of winning all of the titles, but Krause did more than just not screw it up. He really maximized the opportunity. Jordan played in only 11 full seasons for the Chicago Bulls and won six titles. Given his teammates when he started, there was no way they were going to win the titles in the first few years. It's near impossible to imagine that someone else could have acted as GM and won 7 or 8.
Most people probably would have won two or three.
That's the bright spot, and on that alone, maybe Krause is deserving. How many GMs could you say made out of the box that most people wouldn't make that resulted in extra titles? Most good moves that GMs make are a product of luck. Krause made some great moves that were a product of his own genius.
Unfortunately, you have the rest.
He's the part most at fault for the breakup of the dynasty, because he never realized that he's not the talent. He famously screamed at Phil Jackson "I don't care if you go 82-0, you're not coming back next year" in the final year of the Bulls dynasty. His ego is the nexus of what drove the Bulls apart.
You can blame Jordan or Jackson for not helping the situation, but they were the irreplaceable talents. Players and coaches around the league are drama queens. It's management job to sooth those guys and keep them happy. Krause's obligation is to play firefighter. Jackson and Jordan's is to win basketball games.
Krause couldn't play firefighter though. He couldn't even play innocent bystander. He played lunatic who strapped a bunch of explosives onto a stolen oil truck and drove it into the united center at 150 miles an hour.
When the dynasty was over, and Krause had to rebuild, he had perhaps one of the worst runs as GM in the history of basketball. He started with one of the worst coaching hires of all time. Seriously, that's not an exaggeration. Tim Floyd may literally be the worst NBA head coaching hire of all time.
He screwed up draft pick after draft pick. His reputation prevented him from making quality trades, and he constantly set the franchise back over and over again by redoing everything again and again. Even when he finally acquired some pieces he sent them out.
The only decent rebuilding moves he made were undone almost immediately. Bye bye Elton Brand, Ron Artest, and Brad Miller. Hello Jalen Rose and Tyson Chandler.
Quite simply, nothing worked after the dynasty ended.
Ironically, even though Krause did S&Ts for virtually every Bull from the dynasty error to help get them more money and land them in a better spot than they'd be if they stayed to rebuild, the organization still came off looking horrible. An unfair perception put on the franchise by Krause that was even brought up this summer, 12 years later by Dwyane Wade.
And even though he had his ulterior motives, we couldn't immediately dismiss it.
With Krause, it's a double sided coin. You could make an argument that Krause had one of the greatest five year slices of any GM in the history of the NBA and make an argument that he also had one of the worst five year slices in the history of the NBA.
Does that make him HOF worthy? I don't know. I do know that I would never trust Jerry Krause to run another NBA team. I think his reputation would have prevented him from ever being successful again. The rest of the NBA agreed with me.
When Krause eventually 'quit', he was never offered a job by any other
team in basketball. He ended up at one point as a scout in the White
Sox organization since Reinsdorf was the only guy left who would hire
him, just not to be GM of the Bulls anymore.
Still, when we sit back and remember most people, we remember them for their successes. Jerry's successes shine amongst the brightest of any GM. Jerry's successes brought multiple titles to Chicago that a replacement GM probably wouldn't have. As much as he deserves the ridicule for some failure, I'd gladly live through five years of 15 wins again if it brought me even one title.
On the whole, the scales balance out in Jerry's favor in his career with the Bulls even if we can never forgive him for how it ended.