Jerry West Shoots Down Scottie Pippen Trade Rumors To The Lakers In 1999
Following the Chicago Bulls’ sixth championship in 1998, the future of the team was up in the air. As we now know, Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan retired, Dennis Rodman was released, and Scottie Pippen among other players were traded. It is the trade of Pippen that had a lot of moving pieces and numerous possibilities.
Back in 1999, one of the rumors about a Pippen trade to the Los Angeles Lakers was that was where Pippen wanted to be traded to – so that he can play for a winner. At the time, the Lakers had Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, who knew what they would have had to trade to the Bulls for Pippen, but it seems that those two would be untouchable.
In a recent interview, Laker great and former general manager Jerry West clarified that there was no deal in place for the then 33-year old Pippen. “There wasn’t one conversation in my mind about him,” West said. “I’ve always admired Scottie Pippen as a player. But listen, we did fine. Ok? We did fine.”
The Lakers did do fine as O’Neal and Bryant led the Lakers to three straight championships from 2000 to 2002 with Jackson as the team’s head coach. One has to wonder though how Pippen would have meshed with the two Laker stars, instead of playing with an aging Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston.