Scott Burrell On Pippen-Krause Spat: They Both Did Their Jobs

Burrell felt bad for Scottie Pippen in 1997-98, but he also knew Jerry Krause was doing exactly what he was supposed to do

Zach Gelb
April 21, 2020 - 5:15 pm
Scottie Pippen Bulls

USA Today Images


We’re only two episodes into The Last Dance, and already former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause has not been portrayed in a favorable light. In fact, his squabbles with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Phil Jackson, and others almost prevented the Chicago Bulls from winning an NBA title in 1998.

Was Krause presented fairly in those episodes? Well, let’s ask someone who was there.

“I think it was a tough situation for both people,” former Bull Scott Burrell said on The Zach Gelb Show, referring to Krause and Pippen. “Jerry works for the team and the organization, and obviously Scottie is a player. They all had their differences with the Bulls organization, but the bottom line is both people did their jobs. The players won, and management did what they were supposed to do – and that’s not pay people extra. But I felt bad for Scottie at the same time because he was one of the best players in the league and deserved a lot more money. But you heard [Jerry] Reinsdorf say it [in the documentary]: ‘If you sign a contract, I’m not renegotiating.’ So which Jerry do you blame?”

Pippen, despite being one of the best players in basketball, ranked 122nd in the league in salary. He purposefully delayed foot surgery so he wouldn’t be ready at the start of the 1997-98 season.

Were any Bulls players upset about that?

“There’s only one person on that team that could have had any say in that, and that was Michael Jordan,” Burrell said. “Everybody else was just role players, very good role players, so we had no say in it. We just did our jobs and let whatever happened between those guys happen. Obviously we wanted Scottie back badly – because we knew Scottie was the key to winning a championship – but if Scottie wanted to do what he had to do, it’s on him. We just knew we needed him back to win, but we couldn’t worry about anything that was out of our [control].”

Episodes 3 and 4 of the The Last Dance air this Sunday from 9-11 p.m. ET.