The New Orleans Pelicans made a big splash when they hired David Griffin to run their basketball operations department in 2019. Griffin is viewed as one of the better executives in the NBA after he built a championship team around LeBron James in Cleveland, but apparently those who work with him are not all that fond of him.
Christian Clark of NOLA.com published a lengthy article on Wednesday that pulled back the curtain on some of the supposed dysfunction that exists within the Pelicans organization. Clark was told by sources that some team employees have grown to “actively dislike” Griffin. One of the ways they expressed that to one another was by referring to Griffin as “Griff Krause.”
That is a reference to Jerry Krause, who was the general manager of the Chicago Bulls when they won six titles. Krause has widely been blamed for breaking up the Bulls dynasty. He butted heads with Michael Jordan over personnel moves and alienated Phil Jackson. Some of the issues with Krause were highlighted in “The Last Dance” documentary series last year, though he is not alive to share his side of the story.
According to Clark, people with the Pelicans were unhappy with how Griffin handled Alvin Gentry’s firing after the 2019-20 season. Griffin blamed Gentry for New Orleans’ struggles earlier that season, though some did not feel the head coach was at fault. In one exchange, Griffin supposedly arrogantly told someone, “I give Alvin all the answers to the test, and he still fails.”
There were also issues between Zion Williamson and Griffin. The former No. 1 overall pick was reportedly unhappy with the way the Pelicans handled his knee injury his rookie year, which led to him having a poor relationship with Griffin.
Believe it or not, Griffin is not the only executive who has been mocked using the Krause comparison.
The Pelicans fired Stan Van Gundy after one season and have replaced him with Willie Green. Their young roster, lead by Williamson and Brandon Ingram, has a lot of talent. If the team continues to struggle, the internal issues with Griffin could come to a boil.
The Miami Heat assembling The Big Three in 2010 was probably the biggest free agent coup in NBA history, but Chicago Bulls GM Jerry Krause apparently tried to pull off something similarly ambitious a full decade earlier.
Appearing recently on “The Platform Basketball Podcast,” former Bulls guard Jamal Crawford revealed a crazy story about Krause trying to acquire three of the league’s biggest talents in a single offseason.
“My rookie year, Jerry thought he was gonna get Grant Hill, Tim Duncan, and Tracy McGrady,” Crawford said. “So obviously, MJ just retired, right? We have all this cap space. We have all these rookies. Go back and look, I guarantee Grant, Tim, and T-Mac were all free agents. Jerry wholeheartedly believed that we were gonna get all three of them. Even if we get two of them.”
Crawford, who spent his first four seasons with the Bulls, is referring to the summer of 2000, a time when all three aforementioned players were indeed free agents. Krause ultimately whiffed on all three though, as McGrady and Hill both signed with the Orlando Magic while Duncan returned to the San Antonio Spurs. As a result, the Bulls’ cap space went to free agents like Ron Mercer and Brad Miller that offseason instead. Chicago never made it back to the playoffs again during the tenure of Krause, who stepped down in 2003.
Krause was largely vilified by ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” but he was a real visionary when it came to putting together talented teams. That almost continued even after the Michael Jordan era was over.
“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.
The late Jerry Krause was a basketball executive and did not exactly have the reputation for being a party animal, no surprise. That’s what made one specific clip from “The Last Dance” so incredible to see.
In 1991, the Chicago Bulls finally overcame the Detroit Pistons after previously not being able to get past them in the playoffs. They celebrated on their plane ride home from Detroit, which included even Krause dancing. Here’s the video clip.
That was incredible.
Krause was portrayed in the documentary as someone who was disliked by Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen, so seeing him in a moment of fun — where he was not mocked by MJ — was definitely unexpected. After beating the Pistons, the Bulls went on to win their first of six championships. They won two more in a row before MJ’s hiatus and then won three in a row from 1996-1998.
Former Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause has passed away.
Krause, who oversaw all six of the Bulls’ championship teams, died Tuesday at age 77, a family member confirmed to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
A two-time Executive of the Year Award winner, Krause was hired as Bulls GM in 1985 and is credited with building a dynasty around superstar guard Michael Jordan. Among his many moves, Krause hired Hall of Fame head coach Phil Jackson and triangle offense savant Tex Winter, drafted Horace Grant and Toni Kukoc, and traded for Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman.
While the latter part of his tenure with the Bulls was marred by tension with Jackson, Jordan, and others, the legacy of Krause, who was just in the news again recently for some comments he made last month, is forever cemented as the architect of a team that took home six NBA titles in eight seasons.
Former Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause sees at least one key difference between Michael Jordan and the superstars of today’s NBA.
In a recent appearance on The Vertical Podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski, Krause claimed that Jordan never asked him to acquire another player.
“But I will say one thing for Michael Jordan … He never came to me and asked for other players,” Krause said. “He never came to me and asked me to draft a player. Never came to me and asked to trade for a player. Never once did that happen. Part of it was he thought he was so darn good he could win without ’em … He understood what we had to do as an organization.”
Of course, Jordan played in an era immensely different from the modern era of super teams and super salary caps. Free agency back then wasn’t nearly the behemoth that it is today, and it was difficult to fit multiple big contracts on one roster. Jordan was also notorious for his distrust of Krause and often went straight to Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf for personnel suggestions.
The timing of Krause’s comments is no coincidence in light of LeBron James recently blasting his front office for a lack of roster additions. But they should probably be taken with a grain of salt when you consider the proper context.
Image via Brad Engelstad on YouTube
Former Chicago Bulls GM Jerry Krause says there is only one reason Phil Jackson took the Knicks job. Check that: He believes there are $60 million reasons Phil took the job.
Krause, who was GM of the Bulls during Phil’s successful tenure as the team’s coach in the ’90s (and has a testy relationship with Jackson), told ESPN New York that he is not at all surprised by the Knicks’ struggles this season.
“I’m not surprised at all,” Krause told ESPN New York Wednesday. “I knew Phil had a bad ballclub. If [James] Dolan offered him $2 million a year or even $5 million, he wouldn’t have taken it. But $12 million is overwhelming. Phil didn’t take the job because he thought he had a playoff club. He took the job for the money.”
He’s probably right. Jackson flirted with the idea of returning to New York, though he was adamant that he was done coaching. The Knicks brought him in for the next best thing — to try shaping the franchise and roster. And they really had to up the ante to convince the longtime coach to come out of retirement to take on this messy project.
The Knicks were not expected to do well this season (at least not by us), but we did not figure they would have the worst record in the league by the All-Star break. Their 10-43 is even worse than that of the Sixers, which was a team built to tank. If Jackson took the job for the money, then the cost is a hit to his reputation as a basketball genius. You can tell he does not enjoy the criticism coming his way, because he has been touchy and responded to it at many different points over the past several months.
The Chicago White Sox have hired the former general manger of the Chicago Bulls, Jerry Krause, to be a baseball consultant for the team. His main responsibility will be “revamping” the scouting system in the Dominican Republic. Manager Ozzie Guillen seems to think that this was a good decision for a funny reason: “Very smart man. He gambled, trading for me, and he won.” Though Ozzie’s pleased with the idea, I have some concerns.
Can a man who was so successful in the world of the NBA bring the same magic to MLB? Although Krause was once a scout for the Sox, that was a long time ago. Was it too long ago? I’ve never been a general manager nor a baseball consultant, so I don’t know how easy it is to bounce between sports. Can you go from being a general manager who helped a basketball team win six titles to being a baseball scout and have the same success? I guess only time will tell but it’s hard to think it will be easy.
White Sox hire Krause as consultant [ESPN]