NBA Rumor: Scottie Pippen Trade

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Bulls owner denies Michael Jordan threatened to retire due to proposed Scottie Pippen trade

In an appearance on NBC Sports Chicago’s Bulls Pregame Live, Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf refuted a claim by Tracy McGrady that Michael Jordan threatened to retire to shoot down a 1997 trade that would have sent Scottie Pippen to the Celtics and McGrady to the Bulls. “I understand that there’s a lot of truth to this story,” Reinsdorf said on the broadcast. “But the one part that’s not true is that Michael Jordan in any way communicated with the Chicago Bulls his displeasure over the trade.”

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“We had won five championships at that point, and Krause came to me and said: ‘Look, I’m not sure I can guarantee — I don’t know how strong I feel about winning a sixth championship. But I have a chance to trade Scottie Pippen to the Boston Celtics for two very high picks (No. 3 and 6 in the 1997 draft),’” Reinsdorf said. “And Krause, if we had done that deal, he was going to take Tracy McGrady and he was gonna take Ron Mercer. “I thought long and hard about it, but my decision came down to this: What would our fans want us to do?’ And I concluded that our fans would want us to win a sixth championship, even if it meant we weren’t going to be that good afterwards. And that’s why I vetoed the trade. I never heard from Michael Jordan about it. If Krause heard anything from Michael Jordan, he would’ve had to have told me about it.”

Reinsdorf added in his sitdown that he reached out to Jordan after hearing the most recent re-telling of the story, and Jordan concurred with his version of events. “After this podcast, I contacted Michael Jordan, and asked him if there was any truth, and his reply to me was ‘BS.’ And that’s the case,” Reinsdorf said. “I don’t even know if Michael was aware of it (the trade). But he certainly never communicated to us, never threatened to retire. And the only reason that trade didn’t go through is I felt our fans wanted a sixth championship, and I wanted a sixth championship.”
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June 25, 2022 | 8:58 pm EDT Update
“Listen we still run that franchise [Magic]. If they wanna sell it to us, DeVos family, we’re ready to go right now,” O’Neal said on The Big Podcast. “This message go out to the DeVos family, if you’re ready to sell Orlando Magic, sell it to somebody who’s gonna take it to the next level, that’s us. D[ennis] Scott and then, D Scott can pick everybody else. Smart people combined with common sense people and people that’s been there before, you can’t go wrong.”