Scottie Pippen despised Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause, so much so that he verbally abused him on the team bus rides for everyone to see and hear. The elite small forward didn’t respect Krause after the tactician tried to trade him numerous times and didn’t extend his contract during his final year in Chicago.
Despite hating him, though, Pippen did give Krause a massive public compliment that sort of went under the radar.
Scottie Pippen: Jerry Krause is greatest general manager in the game
In the final episode of the famous Last Dance docuseries, Pippen called Krause the greatest general manager in the game. Although he disliked his GM, the swingman acknowledged that the Bulls wouldn’t have won six championships without him.
“We can’t knock him. We gotta give him credit,” Pippen said. “He deserves credit because he was the general manager of those teams. 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 made several questionable moves during the Michael Jordan-Pippen era that agitated the Bulls superstars. However, if it weren’t for him, Chicago would have never gotten Pippen.
Jerry Krause acquired Scottie Pippen on draft night
Krause acquired Pippen from the Seattle SuperSonics on the night of the 1987 NBA Draft. He traded Olden Polynice, a 1988 second-round pick and a 1989 first-round pick for the talented forward out of the University of Central Arkansas.
Jordan never won a playoff series until Pippen got to the Bulls. His Airness needed a partner in crime to have success in the NBA, and Pippen fit that bill to perfection. The seven-time All-Star is one of the best two-way players in NBA history and was extremely versatile on offense. Pippen could score, pass and rebound at a high level, and he was a lockdown defender, making the All-NBA defensive team 10 times during his legendary career.
Krause made Pippen feel special by trading for him in 1987 and giving him the confidence he needed to become a star. However, everything changed after Krause drafted Toni Kukoc and began to neglect Pippen.
Bulls star felt insulted by his GM
Krause drafted Kukoc in the 1990 NBA Draft. He was infatuated with the lefty despite having Jordan and Pippen. That’s why MJ and Pip went after Kukoc in the 1992 Olympics when Team USA faced Croatia. They wanted to embarrass Krause and Kukoc on a global stage.
Pippen requested a trade from the Bulls during the 1997-98 season since Krause tried to trade him in the summer of 1997. The Hall of Famer was in the final season of his contract and knew the team would be broken up after the campaign finished. Pippen wound up not getting traded and made his season debut on January 10, 1998, after recovering from the surgery he purposely underwent during the season as his way of thumbing his nose at Krause.
After the Bulls won their sixth title in 1998, Phil Jackson and Jordan retired, and Pippen was traded to the Houston Rockets. He signed a five-year, $67.2 million contract as part of the sign-and-trade deal between Houston and Chicago. The Arkansas native finally got paid and no longer had to deal with Krause.
Kudos to Pippen for praising Krause in Episode 10 of The Last Dance when he didn’t have to. Krause may have built the dynasty, but he was responsible for breaking it up prematurely, and Bulls fans will likely never forget the latter part.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.