Jerry Krause claimed Phil Jackson wanted to take a year off after 1998 season
“The Last Dance” documentary has portrayed Michael Jordan extremely positively, while Jerry Krause has been portrayed as close to a villain. The focus of the documentary has been about the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls season, which was the final season with all the star players together before the team broke apart. In setting the stage for the season, the documentary explored what led the Bulls to enter the year knowing it was their “last dance” together.
Former Bulls GM Jerry Krause was shown as being disliked by many players, especially Jordan, while Scottie Pippen had a running grievance with the GM over his contract. There were also issues between Krause and Phil Jackson. Krause apparently had been targeting Tim Floyd as Jackson’s replacement, and even unbelievably said that Jackson would not return to the Bulls even if the team went 82-0 in 1997-1998.
Krause died in 2017 and was unable to defend himself for the documentary. But he did write a book that addressed the decision to break apart the team after it had won three in a row. A full excerpt was published by NBC Sports Chicago and is well worth your time for Krause’s side. One notable nugget is that Krause claims Jackson told the Bulls he wanted to take at least a year off after the 1997-1998 season.
We had the finest coach in the game in Phil Jackson, whom the public did not know didn’t want to coach a rebuilding team and who’d informed us before the season that he wanted to ride off to Montana and take at least a year off.
That’s very interesting, and Jackson should definitely respond to let us know whether he initiated the separation, or whether he felt the Bulls didn’t want him back. It’s a he said/she said situation.
But if you read the entire excerpt, you will understand that there was some logic to his decisions, and definitely another side to the story.