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Jerry Krause (1939 - 2017)

AP Photo / Bill Kostroun

Jerry Krause (1939 - 2017)

Jerry Krause, the former general manager of the Chicago Bulls during their championship years, died Tuesday, March 21, 2017, according to multiple news sources. He was 77.

The Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson reported the news of Krause’s death.

Krause, a native Chicagoan, was born April 6, 1939.

He became the general manager of the Chicago Bulls in 1985. He helped build the Chicago Bulls’ championship dynasty that featured Michael Jordan. The Bulls won six NBA titles with Krause as general manager and Phil Jackson as head coach, from 1991 to 1993 and from 1996 to 1998.

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Krause made a draft-day trade in 1987 for Scottie Pippen, who played for an obscure small college, University of Central Arkansas. Pippen became an NBA Hall of Famer. Krause also drafted Horace Grant, another big part of the Bulls’ winning teams.

Krause and Jackson had a contentious relationship, and Jackson left the Bulls after the 1998 season. Krause retired from his position with the Bulls in 2003.

"The entire Bulls organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Jerry Krause," chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. "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."

In a statement to the Chicago Tribune, Michael Jordan said, "Jerry was a key figure in the Bulls' dynasty and meant so much to the Bulls, White Sox, and city of Chicago." He added, "My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Thelma, his family, and friends."

Jackson also made a statement: "The news of Jerry Krause's death is a sad day for the Chicago Bulls and the entire NBA community," he 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 he built the dynasty in Chicago. We, who were part of his vision in that run, remember him today."

Before he started with the Bulls, Krause was a baseball scout for the Chicago White Sox. He returned to baseball scouting after leaving basketball, working for the New York Yankees, New York Mets, and, most recently, the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Krause is a finalist this year for possible election to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor to the sport.

He is survived by his wife and two children.

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