NBA News: George Karl Claims Michael Jordan Wanted Scottie Pippen to be Traded to Seattle
Former Chicago Bulls star forward Scottie Pippen was actually suggested by teammate Michael Jordan to be traded to the Seattle Supersonics.
The year was 1994, and Jordan was on the sidelines, in his first of three retirements from the NBA. Subsequently, it was Pippen who was made to carry the torch of leadership, and to his credit, he was able to steer the Bulls to a 55-27 regular season record, and reach the Eastern Conference Playoffs semi-finals.
The Supersonics, on the other hand, put up a record of 63-19 and easily advanced to the playoffs, but immediately lost to the Denver Nuggets in the first round in a classic upset. This had led the Bulls and Supersonics to strike up a possible deal, just a few days before the 1994 NBA Draft.
According to a book written by then head coach George Karl entitled "Furious George: My Forty Years Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs, and Poor Shot Selection" (via NBC Sports), the two teams were talking about trading Ricky Pierce and Shawn Kemp to the Bulls, in exchange for Scottie Pippen. Karl revealed that he first sought the advice from Jordan, who was then playing minor league baseball. "MJ" immediately told Karl to pull the trigger on the deal.
"'Do it,' he said. Scottie can make your other players better. Kemp can't,'" an excerpt from Karl's written recollection reads.
In the end, the said trade never took place, due to the anger expressed by Supersonics fans about the possibility of losing Kemp. However, Karl also revealed that then Bulls team owner Jerry Krause "got desperate" and offered a "big chunk" of money, which was also doubled after another conversation. Then Sonics team owner Barry Ackerley, however, backed out of the deal, much to the dismay of Krause, whom Karl recalled to have "dropped f-bombs" and "called him names."
The non-trade seemed to have been the right non-move for the Bulls. Upon Jordan's return in 1995, Chicago went on to win the three succeeding NBA championships, with the first one against the Supersonics in 1996.
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