As of 670 The Score’s 20th Anniversary on January 3rd, the station has begun to reveal (in chronological order) the Top 100 Chicago Sports Stories that have occurred since they first went on the air 20 years ago. Once all 100 of these “flashbacks” have been revealed, fans will be able to vote for which stories they believe are the most significant in the 20 year history of The Score. To see all of the Flashbacks that The Score has posted so far, please visit 670 The Score’s 20th Anniversary page.

June 14, 1997 – Bulls Offseason Drama: Will They Return?

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After the Bulls title in 1997, the team appeared to be falling apart behind closed doors.

Tension between head coach Phil Jackson and general manager Jerry Krause were at an all-time high, and it was uncertain whether or not Michael Jordan would return for the 1997-98 season.

The issues began with Krause, who had a particularly tumultuous relationship with Jackson and most of the players. He and Jackson were friends during the early 90s, but their relationship worsened over time.

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Reports allege that during the summer of 1997, Krause’s stepdaughter got married —  all Bulls coaches were invited with the exception of Jackson. Even Tim Floyd, then the head coach at Iowa State, with whom Krause was openly courting as Jackson’s successor was invited. (Floyd did indeed take over after Jackson left the Bulls.)

This incident drove Jackson and Krause even further apart. It was clear that Krause wanted Jackson gone, but elected to bring him back on a one-year deal for the 1997-98 season. The Bulls plan was quite clear, though. Regardless of how well Jackson did, he would not be brought back the following year.

In David Halberstam’s book Playing for Keeps, Halberstam reports that Krause told Jackson, “I don’t care if it’s 82-and-0 this year, you’re f****** gone.”

The decision to retain Jackson prompted Michael Jordan to sign a one-year contract with the Bulls worth a reported $33 million.

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The Score will continue to release a new Flashback each weekday until they reach 100. Check back tomorrow for a new one, or check out all of the previous Flashbacks: 670 The Score’s 20th Anniversary »