“I think Jerry inherently is not a bad person; he’s an insecure guy,” Falk said on The Zach Gelb Show. “He was screaming for credit, and the more he screamed, the more people sort of screamed back. I think it’s unfortunate. I’m a huge fan of Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner. I think he’s one of the smartest guys I’ve dealt with in 45 years in this business. He’s a fair person, tough negotiator, very smart. . . . I think Jerry [Krause] was more of a filter for Jerry Reinsdorf, and I think he [Krause] was unnecessarily difficult when he didn’t have to be. He had that kind of personality. But at the end of the day, he did win six rings.”
There’s just one problem: Krause was not responsible for Michael Jordan. The Bulls drafted Jordan the year before he became GM.
“Krause wanted to have his own Michael Jordan,” Falk said. “Rod Thorn . . . drafted Michael in 1984, and as long as Krause ran the team, he was never really going to get all the credit because he didn’t bring Michael Jordan in, who was the foundation of the entire team. And so, Krause was looking for his own Michael Jordan.”
Krause never found him, though he did try.
“He thought Kukoc would be that guy – and Toni’s a great guy, he’s a very good player, a very skilled played,” Falk said. “[But] when he paid him more than [Scottie] Pippen, you had to know that’s going to cause a problem. You just have to know that, and I don’t think he cared. I think he wanted to try to impose the artificial reality that Kukoc was going to be more important than Pippen, which was absurd. . . . Krause was just trying to sort of let everyone know that he found Kukoc. Not that he was a sleeper; he was the best player in Europe. When he paid him more than Scottie, I think that was the nail in the coffin with the relationship that Scottie had with Jerry.”
Jordan and Krause didn’t see eye-to-eye for much of his tenure. Jordan, in fact, referred to Krause as “The Sleuth” and didn’t entirely trust him. Eventually, neither did Falk.
“One day he did an interview – probably in the mid-90s – and . . . he said, ‘My dream is to win a championship without Michael Jordan,’” Falk recalled. “When I read that, I turned purple. I was so angry. I called Krause up and I said, ‘I just read your interview, and I never realized how much you and Michael had in common.’ He said, ‘You think we’re both the best at what we do?’ I said, ‘No, that wasn’t what I was thinking.’ He named like 19 personality characteristics. I said, ‘No, that wasn’t what I was thinking. I wasn’t thinking any of those things.’ He goes, ‘Well, what is it you think we have in common?’ I said, ‘Michael’s dream is to win a championship without you.’
“Even if you’re thinking that, you never say that,” Falk said of Krause’s comment. “But he said it because his insecurity drove him to feel that it was his architectural planning that won – and it wasn’t.”