Scottie Pippen on Jerry Krause: ‘The greatest general manager in the game’

Tim Stebbins
·2 min read

It's no secret Scottie Pippen and Jerry Krause had a complex relationship.

Krause's acquiring of Pippen in a 1987 draft-day trade is one of his most lauded moves, and was born out of a deep, genuine infatuation with his game. Pippen became a star, though an underpaid one, at that, signing a long-term extension with the Bulls shortly before the league's salary cap spiked to unprecedented levels in the 1990s.

Pippen sought to renegotiate his contract to pay him what he was worth - he was the 122nd highest-paid player in the league in the 1997-98 season. The Bulls did no such thing, fueling Pippen's animosity towards Krause. He delayed a foot surgery until just before the start of the 1997-98 season, missing a chunk of games as a result.

The Bulls navigated the start of the '97-98 season without Pippen, who eventually returned to help the team win their sixth championship in eight seasons. Past animosity aside, Pippen spoke highly the general manager in the finale of ESPN's "The Last Dance."

"We can't knock him, we gotta give him credit. And he deserves credit because he was the general manager of those teams," Pippen said in the docuseries. "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."

Krause is painted as a villain at times in the docuseries; he infamously declared the '97-98 season would be Phil Jackson's last in Chicago. However, 22 years later, there's no debating his mark on the Bulls dynasty.

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Scottie Pippen on Jerry Krause: The greatest general manager in the game originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago