4 NBA stars who demanded a trade that didn’t happen

Kobe Bryant, NBA (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant, NBA (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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NBA Star #2: Scottie Pippen

Scottie Pippen requested two separate trades from the Chicago Bulls, of which neither was fulfilled. Throughout his Bulls tenure, Pippen was exceptionally underpaid due to a seven-year deal that he outperformed nearly immediately after it was signed. This, combined with Michael Jordan’s absence in 1994–1995, gave Pippen understandable reasoning for wanting out. During the All-Star break in Phoenix, Pippen gave a famous interview on live television, expressing his desire to play for the Phoenix Suns.

Nevertheless, the trade deadline passed, and Pippen was still with the Bulls. Fortunately for everyone, Michael Jordan would return to the Bulls from retirement and baseball. Thus appeasing everything and setting Chicago up for its next three rings.

But before the sixth ring, Pippen would request a trade yet again, this time in the last year of his contract. A deal very nearly transpired with the Boston Celtics; the trade would have seen Pippen go to the Celtics and Boston’s third and sixth first-round picks go to Chicago. Bulls’ GM Jerry Krause famously planned on using one of those picks to select Tracy McGrady.

Ultimately, however, the deal was nixed at the intervention of Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. He knew the Bulls had the potential to win another championship with Pippen and wanted to keep it together for one more year. A Last Dance, if you will.

Reinsdorf was correct after all; the Bulls won their sixth championship that season, completing a second three-peat. Pippen would leave the Bulls the following year on a much more lucrative sign-and-trade deal, and Michael Jordan retired for the second time.