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Report: Former Bulls GM Jerry Krause dies at 77

Former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause has reportedly died at age 77.
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Former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause has died at age 77, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

Krause, who is a finalist for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this year as a contributor to the sport, took over as Bulls GM in 1985, helping orchestrate the growth of Chicago’s eventual six-time championship teams around Michael Jordan. Krause was responsible for drafting future Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen and big man Horace Grant, among many others.

Krause was known to have a rocky relationship with then-Bulls head coach Phil Jackson (whom he hired as head coach 1989) during the 90s, with Jackson leaving after the 1998 season and the Bulls’ sixth title. Jordan also retired after that season, although he would later briefly return to play for the Wizards.

VAULT: Jerry Krause, The Sleuth

Krause retired as Bulls general manager in 2003, with an official explanation pertaining to his health, and amid a struggling Bulls rebuild around young players.

“The entire Bulls organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Jerry Krause,” said Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.  “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.”

Jordan paid tribute to Krause in a statement to the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday. 

"Jerry was a key figure in the Bulls' dynasty and meant so much to the Bulls, White Sox and city of Chicago," Jordansaid. "My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Thelma, his family and friends."

Jackson released a statement on Krause’s death through the Knicks, as well.

“The news of Jerry Krause’s death is a sad day for the Chicago Bulls and the entire NBA community,” Jackson said. “He was a man determined to create a winning team in Chicago - his hometown. Jerry was known as “The Sleuth” for his secrecy, but it was no secret that be built the dynasty in Chicago. We, who were part of his vision in that run, remember him today.”

Prior to working for the Bulls, Krause, a Chicago native, scouted for a handful of NBA teams and also in baseball for the Chicago White Sox, also the property of Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Krause returned to baseball scouting after leaving basketball, working for the Yankees, Mets and most recently the Diamondbacks in scouting capacities.