There been a greater insight on the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty in the 1990s provided through ESPN’s The Last Dance documentary. It has given a clear picture of the team’s interworkings that saw much internal conflict emerge over the years. That saw Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen have his bumps in the road, which much of that dealt with him feeling like the organization drastically underpaid him. It created a sense that his time with the Bulls was coming to an end as it did after winning their sixth NBA title.
However, Michael Jordan brought life to the notion that Pippen could have returned another season, but it didn’t take long for team owner Jerry Reinsdorf to shut that chatter down.
Scottie Pippen’s Bulls tenure
Following being acquired during the 1987 draft, Pippen worked his way into becoming one of the league’s top players in Chicago.
He developed into a strong all-around talent alongside Jordan that helped lead the franchise to six championships. In many ways, his impact has remained undervalued, as he played under the shadow of his teammate, who is widely regarded as being the greatest player of all-time.
Early on in his tenure, Pippen had agreed to a seven-year, $18 million deal with the Bulls in 1991. That later turned into a turning point for him as he felt he played well beyond that deal’s worth. It was a notion that many around the league thought that he had shortchanged himself with that contract over his tenure after he signed it.
That was a source of the rift that he had with the front office led by general manager Jerry Krause, as he felt that he wasn’t being valued with a lucrative contract. With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he was moved following the sixth NBA title as things had reached its limit.
Jerry Reinsdorf shuts downs chatter concerning Scottie Pippen
The talk around Pippen’s departure cropped up in the tail end of The Last Dance documentary as Jordan lamented that the team could have a run at a seventh title.
During that, he voiced that he believed that many of the players on the team would have taken a one-year deal along with the notion that Pippen could have been convinced to stay one more year. According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, Reinsdorf responded to that premise in many ways that include shutting down any notion that Jordan’s running mate would have entertained coming back for one year.
“I know in Episode 10, [Jordan] says, ‘They all would’ve come back for one year.’ But there’s not a chance in the world that Scottie Pippen would’ve come back on a one-year contract when he knew he could get a much bigger contract someplace else.”
Pippen was dead set on getting paid, and it had become clear that he wanted to get paid on his next contract. He repeatedly made that evident in interviews over his final season with Chicago, which led to him asking for a trade. In other words, it would have taken moving mountains to bring Pippen back into the fold for another season.
Could Things have changed for Scottie Pippen?
There is now a more sound sense of what the Bulls were going through during their dynasty in the 1990s, which is hammered home by the standing the franchise had with Pippen.
Things had moved past the breaking point, and Pippen was honed in on getting paid on his next deal. Aside from paying Jordan top dollar in his final two years with the franchise, the team had moved forward on underpaying talent. It’s a large chunk of the reason why Horace Grant left in 1994.
Pippen wasn’t going to get paid with the Bulls, which would have been the deciding factor. Yes, the appeal to run it back for a seventh title would have been intriguing, but the bottom line would have been how much Chicago would have offered.