|Monday, April 7
Updated: April 18, 11:33 AM ET
Krause cites health concerns for resignation
CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause resigned Monday, citing health problems, after helping build the dominant NBA team of the 1990s and then struggling to rebuild.
With Krause as GM, the Bulls won six titles behind the play of Michael Jordan. But Chicago has bottomed out since Jordan left after the final championship in 1998.
John Paxson nor Jim Stack both said they would be open to talking about the job, though neither had heard from team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf as of Tuesday night.
The top candidates figure to be Paxson and B.J. Armstrong, another former Bull who is in his third season as a special assistant to Krause. Armstrong was not available for comment Tuesday.
At 27-50 through Monday, Chicago will finish with a losing record for the fifth straight season and miss the playoffs again.
"The rigors and stress of the job have caused me some minor physical problems in the past few years," Krause said in statement released by the team. "Those problems can be eliminated if I lessen my load for a while and concentrate on overcoming them."
The 64-year-old Krause, the Bulls' GM since 1985, did not elaborate on his health problems.
Just as the two-time NBA executive of the year was credited for finding players to complement Jordan -- a player he did not draft -- Krause also was criticized for breaking up the run of success.
He alienated coach Phil Jackson, Jordan and Scottie Pippen, often over who should get credit for the championships. When Jordan retired before the lockout-shortened season of 1999, the dynasty crumbled. Jordan later joined the Washington Wizards' front office before returning as a player.
Krause brought in his own hand-picked successor to Jackson, Tim Floyd, who resigned in December 2001, so frustrated with the rebuilding he didn't publicly thank Krause on his way out.
Bill Cartwright, a center on the first three title teams, took over as coach. And although there has been improvement this season, especially in two high school players who went directly to the pros -- Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler -- Chicago is still a long way from being a contender. The Bulls have won three road games all season.
One of Krause's biggest deals came in 1987, when he maneuvered with Seattle for the draft rights to Pippen, who went on to become Jordan's famous sidekick and was selected as one of the NBA's 50 greatest players.
Krause also signed Croatian star Toni Kukoc, another important player in Chicago's final three titles.
Reinsdorf said he hoped to have a successor in place within the next month. He praised Krause for surrounding Jordan with talented teammates.
"He brought with him a vision of how to build a champion and he proceeded to create one of the most dominant champions of all time," Reinsdorf said.
"No basketball fan in America can begin to imagine the world champion Chicago Bulls without his imprint. There would not have been a Coach Phil Jackson. There would not have been Scottie Pippen, Bill Cartwright, Dennis Rodman, or a host of others who wore Bulls uniforms during those championship seasons."
Krause emphasized in the team statement that he is not retiring.
"I take great pride in what we've accomplished here. The staff, players and coaches will always be a bright spot in my heart," Krause said. "I'm very confident that we have assembled the key pieces so that the franchise can return to the NBA's elite teams in the very near future."