Ray Allen: Jerry Krause Should've Been Fired, 'Selfish' to Break Bulls' Harmony

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2020

Chicago Bulls executive vice-president Jerry Krause listens as the Bulls were chosen to pick fourth in the draft at the 2001 Draft Lottery Sunday, May 20, 2001, in Secaucus, N.J.  The Bulls had a 25 percent chance to win the first pick but dropped to fourth as the Washington Wizards won the first pick. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
BILL KOSTROUN/Associated Press

Ray Allen's solution to the drama between Jerry Krause, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson? Get rid of Krause.

The Hall of Fame guard said the Bulls should have let go of Krause in 1998, rather than letting the three cornerstones of their dynasty leave. 

"The Bulls should've been together, they should've won more than six rings. Jerry Krause should've been fired," Allen told Spike Lee and Sage Steele on The Encore (starting 1:15:20). "There's no way, when you have a team that's rolling like that, you can't break up the harmony. It was so selfish of Krause to say this was going to be the last dance, and they won a championship. What team in sports would let go of their coach who just brought you six championships?

"[Jerry Reinsdorf] was the ultimate decision maker because he let Krause get away with all of this. At the same token, he felt like Krause brought him to this position, that he trusted him. But there's no way you treat this team the way they treated the team at the time. It's like we all got robbed of further greatness."

Krause, who died in 2017, was perhaps the biggest villain of the Bulls dissolution in The Last Dance. The film portrayed him as the architect of a Bulls dynasty who allowed success to go to his head, to the point it alienated nearly everyone in the organization.

Jordan and Pippen loathed Krause to the point they would take out their frustrations on players they knew Krause liked, most notably future teammate Toni Kukoc in the 1992 Olympics and Phoenix Suns guard Dan Majerle in the 1993 NBA Finals.

The film also showed Jordan making several comments about Krause's weight and height and otherwise disrespecting him to his face. Pippen's animosity toward the organization stemmed from its refusal to renegotiate his contract. 

Jackson and Krause's relationship deteriorated to the point the general manager famously said the 1997-98 Bulls could go 82-0 and the coach would not return. 

The conclusion Allen and anyone watching the documentary drew was that Krause was the common denominator. Perhaps Krause was doing owner Jerry Reinsdorf's bidding and became the fall guy. Reinsdorf has admitted he did not want to bring the 1997-98 team back as constituted due to the exorbitant cost. 

However, it's also clear that the scenario would not have played out the same in the modern NBA. If there was a choice to be made between a general manager and player of Jordan's caliber, the general manager would be handed his walking papers 100 times out of 100. It's fair to say the same situation should have played out in Chicago, and the fact that it didn't is an indictment of Reinsdorf.