Jerry Krause, the general manager as the Chicago Bulls franchise that won six NBA championships in eight seasons, died on Tuesday after battling persistent health issues, including osteomyelitis. He was 77.
Krause was still working at what he loved most as recently as last spring, serving as a scout for Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks. His career spanned five decades as a sports executive that began in 1961 with the Chicago Cubs.
A finalist for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor, Krause put the key pieces together around Michael Jordan, who was drafted by his predecessor Rod Thorn, which later established the Bulls as an NBA dynasty. He plucked Phil Jackson from the Continental Basketball Association to serve on Doug Collins’ staff. The obscure coach went on to take over for the fired Collins en route to being later recognized as one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time.
He also brought in Hall of Fame assistant coach Tex Winter and his triangle offense, along with hiring the late Johnny Bach to serve as the Jackson’s respective offensive and defensive coordinators for the team’s first three-peat.
Nicknamed “The Sleuth” because of his secretive ways and scouting acumen, Krause drafted Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant in the 1987 NBA draft and traded Charles Oakley, despite Jordan’s protestations, to the Knicks for starting center Bill Cartwright.
He also drafted Toni Kukoc in the second round of the NBA Draft and traded for future Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman.
As an NBA scout with the Baltimore Bullets, he is also credited for drafting Hall of Famers Earl Monroe and Jerry Sloan.
A memorial service is scheduled for April 9th.