Former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause dies at 77

CHICAGO – One of the key contributors to the Bulls’ dynasty of the 1990s has passed away.

Jerry Krause, the general manager of the team during their six NBA Championships, has died at the age of 77. The news was first reported by the Chicago Tribune and then confirmed by the Chicago Bulls.

“The entire Bulls organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Jerry Krause,” said Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf in a statement released by the team.  “Jerry was one of the hardest working guys I have ever been around, and he was one of the best talent evaluators ever. Jerry played an integral role in our run of six championships in eight years. He truly was the architect of all our great teams in the ’90s.

“I would not have been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame if it were not for Jerry. We will miss him tremendously, and we send our thoughts and prayers to his wife Thelma and the Krause family.”A native of Chicago and graduate of Bradley University, Krause became the Bulls general manager in 1985. He succeeded Rod Thorn, who drafted Michael Jordan the previous year, and built one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history.”

Krause brought Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson to the franchise first as an assistant coach and then elevated him to head coach in 1989. He was credited with a strong 1987 draft in which he acquired Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant in the first round while building the rest of the roster for the team that won three-straight NBA Championships from 1991-1993.

After Jordan’s first retirement, Krause brought in Toni Kukoc, Luc Longley and Ron Harper and helped the team win 55 games in the 1993-1994 season without Jordan. When the guard returned midway through the 1994-1995 season, the Bulls once again were a championship contender.

Adding in prolific rebounder Dennis Rodman to Jordan and Pippen, Krause oversaw three more championships from 1996-1998.

Following Jordan’s second retirement, the Bulls tore down the championship roster in an attempt to rebuild with a younger core. The Bulls drafted high school players Eddie Curry and Tyson Chandler but struggled to build a consistent winner during Krause’s final years with the franchise.

Due to heath issues, Krause retired as the Bulls general manager in 2003.

Reaction from Twitter has been coming in following the news of Krause’s death.