Basketball

Jerry Krause Explained Breaking Up The Bulls In His Unpublished Memoir

Jerry Krause Explained Breaking Up The Bulls In His Unpublished Memoir

The Last Dance has certainly been the only thing in the sports world that has been keeping us occupied over the past few weeks, and it's difficult to imagine what our lives would have been like without it.

The Chicago Bulls documentary was a magnificent watch, featuring some fascinating interviews and intriguing behind the scenes footage. Despite this, it's fair to say some were not happy with the way they were portrayed in the show.

Former Bulls power forward Horace Grant has come out to say that 90 per cent of what was shown in the documentary was 'BS', while it has also been widely reported that Scottie Pippen is no happy with the way his career was dealt with.

Still, nobody came out looking worse than Jerry Krause. The former Bulls general manager was certainly portrayed as the villain of the story, seemingly attempting to break up the dynasty to save money and massage his own ego.

Unfortunately, Krause passed away in 2017 and was unable to defend himself. However, an unpublished memoir written by him before his death does explain in detail why the Bulls had no choice but to break up the team.

In an excerpt taken from the unpublished memoir, NBC Chicago revealed Krause's reasoning for breaking up the team. Basically, the franchise couldn't afford to invest major money in ageing players who were beginning to show signs of slowing down.

Nobody outside of Jerry Reinsdorf, myself and a few select people in the Bulls organisation really knows what happened in the aftermath of winning our sixth world championship in eight years...

During the last championship run in 1998, cracks in the foundation of the teams we’d built began to alarmingly show up at inopportune times.

To the adoring public, the age that was showing on Dennis Rodman, the lack of movement by Luc Longley, the slowdown in efficiency after playing over 100 games per year in two of the previous three seasons, was not apparent...

But to the fans and media, we had Michael Jordan and he could overcome anything. He could play without a centre and a power forward for a capped team with little or no flexibility and still win by himself. Or Scottie Pippen, with two operations in the previous two years, could rise to the occasion and win with Michael and a declining supporting cast.

We had the finest coach in the game in Phil Jackson, whom the public did not know didn’t want to coach a rebuilding team and who’d informed us before the season that he wanted to ride off to Montana and take at least a year off.

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Krause goes on to describe how a meeting that took place in June of 1998 ended any hope of bringing back the team.

In that meeting it was said that injuries meant Luc Longley would no longer be able to perform at a high level, while the same could be said of Dennis Rodman, then in his mid-30s and seemingly falling out of love with the sport. That was two members of the starting five that could not return.

Then the meeting turned towards Scottie Pippen, who was coming off the back of two major surgeries and seeking a long-term deal to make him one of the highest paid players in the history of the league. With Longley and Rodman on the way out, they felt that was a risk they couldn't take.

Other players, such as Steve Kerr and Jud Buechler, were also likely to receive sizeable offers that summer they they could not match. Ultimately the Bulls felt they could not compete with Jordan and a misfit cast, while Jackson did not want to coach a rebuilding team.

Could we get Phil to coach without a proven center, power forward, probably Pippen, a basically new bench and crazy expectations that “in Michael we trust” can win without help? Not a chance...

Did we break up a dynasty or was the dynasty breaking up of age, natural attrition of NBA players with little time to recuperate and the salary-cap rules that govern the game?...

As the summer wore on and players were locked out of the training facilities by the league — that would mean the NBA season would not start until late January — things got even worse.

Michael sliced a finger on a cigar cutter that would’ve prevented him from playing an entire season. To his credit, he could have stiffed us and signed a huge contract. But he was honest and we were well informed what the condition of the hand was.

He didn’t want to play on a rebuilding team, and he stuck to his word.

To their credit, Krause said the Bulls also did everything they could to get their players as much money as they could from other teams.

You can read the excerpt in full here.

SEE ALSO: Take Our Ultimate 'The Last Dance' Quiz

Gary Connaughton

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