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“Some Ego That Gets in the Way”: Irked by Jerry Krause and Bulls Owner, Scottie Pippen Demanded Trade to Improve on His $2.7 Million Salary

Sourav Bose

"Some Ego That Gets in the Way": Irked by Jerry Krause and Bulls Owner, Scottie Pippen Demanded Trade to Improve on His $2.7 Million Salary

Scottie Pippen shocked the NBA world by demanding a trade out of the Chicago Bulls ahead of what would be the team’s last championship run. Irked by the owner and general manager Jerry Krause’s refusal to improve his $2.7 million salary, the small forward started looking elsewhere. Pippen revealed the entire situation publicly on 25th November 1997 during an interview with WGN-TV.

Emphasizing how the franchise’s core members shared a different set of objectives, he highlighted the uniqueness of his situation. “I think that Michael [Jordan] as well as Phil [Jackson], everyone understands the situation that I’m in. Every player in this ballclub realizes that they are in a totally different situation and there’s no comparison to my situation compared to a guy like Michael or Dennis [Rodman] or Phil,” Pippen stated.

Citing his actions as a business decision”, the 6x All-Star shed light on the intricate details of the matter. “I had a big falling out with Jerry I think this summer,” he mentioned while explaining his unthinkable decision. Following this, the Arkansas-born declared, “I just know right now that my mindset of putting back on a Chicago Bulls uniform is not gonna happen”.

“I think a lot of it is business but there’s some personal things, some egos that get in the way when you have been in the situation that I’ve been in,” the 6ft 8″ NBA icon further added. He even demanded more respect from the organization’s side, putting the limelight on the importance of the players’ contributions to team success.

Pippen continued to elaborate on his stance as he then shed light on the difficulties surrounding the situation of the head coach Phil Jackson. “We’ve seen how Jerry made statements at Phil that [even] if he wins all 82 games, he won’t be returning. Those are things that have kind of left the ball club in a situation where they are not really thinking about playing anymore,” he stated.

Pippen’s demands seemed justified on an individual level as his 7-year $18 million contract ranked him 122nd on the list of highest earners in 1997. His salary felt insignificant compared to his achievements which had earned him a spot amongst the top 50 greatest players ever. Thus, he demanded a contract that would match his output which the Bulls were unwilling to offer. This cost the entire team before the NBA star eventually returned, despite being miffed, to say the least.

How did the season pan out for Scottie Pippen?

At that time, Pippen was suffering from a ruptured tendon in his ankle, sustained during the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals. To make his absence felt on the roster, he intentionally delayed his surgery at the start of the 1997/98 season. It irritated Michael Jordan as the Bulls initially struggled to cope without their star forward on the court.

Eventually, the team’s form improved before Pippen returned for his final campaign with the Bulls in January 1998. Starting 44 games in the regular season, he averaged 19.1 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, and 5.8 assists per game to help his side reach the playoffs. In the post-season, he also made his presence felt, registering 16.8 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game, and 5.2 assists per game to win his sixth championship.

So, in the end, everyone achieved their goals before going in separate directions. Following this, Pippen fulfilled his demands as the Houston Rockets offered him a 5-year $82 million deal. His Bulls chapter came to an end, yet neither party ever fully recovered from the disconnection.

About the author

Sourav Bose

Sourav Bose


Sourav, a seasoned NBA journalist at the SportsRush, discovered his profound love for basketball through the brilliance of Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors. With over 600 articles in his career, he has established himself as a dedicated and prolific writer in the field. Influenced by 'The Last Dance' documentary and the anime 'Slam Dunk,' Sourav's passion for basketball is marked by insightful observations and a comprehensive understanding of the sport's history. Beyond his role as a journalist, he delves into the strategic dimensions of sports management and explores literature in his spare time, reflecting a well-rounded approach to his craft. Sourav's journey is characterized by a commitment to unraveling the intricacies of basketball and sports in general, making him a reliable source for NBA enthusiasts and a seasoned observer of the sports landscape.

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