Celtics Nearly Traded For Scottie Pippen In 1997 (Story)

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Forward Scottie Pippen (right) of the Chicago Bulls and guard Gary Payton of the Seattle Supersonics stand during a break in the game at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls won the game 89 - 87.
Obligatory Credit score: Jonathan Dani


The 12 months was 1997, and Rick Pitino’s Boston Celtics have been in search of a bounceback season, because it had been greater than a decade since their final title.

Pitino, who will not be remembered fondly in Boston, was ready to make a splash with an enormous commerce.

Listed below are the small print of it:

As he was prepared for his first NBA draft, Pitino hoped to get the No. 5 choose within the 1987 NBA draft for 2 picks within the upcoming draft.

Right here was the proposed commerce:

  • The Celtics obtain ahead Scottie Pippen
  • The Bulls obtain the No. 3 and No. 6 picks within the 1997 draft

Jerry Reinsdorf, the longtime proprietor and chairmen of the Bulls, mentioned that he vetoed the commerce that might have landed rookie Tracy McGrady in Chicago.

There was additionally a rumor that Michael Jordan threatened to retire if the commerce had occurred.

The Celtics had suffered some lean years, as they’d not gained a title since 1986.

Due to this fact, it seemed to be a good deal for each squads.

Nonetheless, it didn’t occur.

The Celtics brass ended up taking Chauncey Billups with the No. 3 total choose and chosen Ron Mercer on the No. 6 choose:

In the meantime, the two-time champion Bulls solid forward and ran it again for the “Final Dance.”

So, what would have occurred if the Celtics and Bulls made the swap?

Would the Bulls nonetheless have gained the 1998 NBA title or may the Chicago franchise have turned the No. 3 and No. 6 picks into a couple of title?

Would the Celtics have gotten a title sooner than 2008?

Allow us to have a look:


What Would Have Occurred If The Commerce Went By?


If the Celtics and Bulls had made the commerce in 1997, the five-time NBA champion Chicago Bulls would have made the next picks within the draft:

  • No. 3: Tracy McGrady
  • No. 6: Ron Mercer

In the meantime, the Celtics would have obtained a seven-time all-star and three-time NBA First-Teamer in  Pippen.

On the time, the Celtics weren’t a championship contender whereas the Bulls have been the cream of the crop.

Chicago was coming off 72- and 69-win seasons.

The lowly Boston franchise had gained a mixed 83 video games prior to now three seasons.

Pitino had changed M.L. Carr, who was a two-time champion as a participant with Boston.

Sadly, Carr was 48-116 in his NBA teaching profession.

Pitino was trying to assist the Celtics flip the web page, and Pippen may have helped that.

Nicely, McGrady may have helped in Boston, too.

McGrady may have additionally blossomed in Chicago subsequent to Jordan and the highly effective Bulls.

Perhaps Chicago’s entrance workplace shared that it was taken with McGrady, however Boston didn’t go along with the longer term Corridor of Famer.

That could be a moot level anyway since Boston ended up going with Billups and Mercer.

The Celtics determined to decide on Billups, who’s but to make it into the Corridor of Fame, and naturally, Mercer will not be going to Springfield.

As many Boston followers bear in mind, Billups didn’t name the FleetCenter dwelling for lengthy.

Simply 51 video games into his rookie 12 months, Pitino shipped him off to — of all locations — Toronto, the crew that chosen McGrady No. 9 total.

Billups, the present Portland Path Blazers head coach, had success all through his profession and was the NBA Finals MVP for the 2004 NBA champion Detroit Pistons.

It might have been good for Celtics followers to benefit from the stylings of Billups — or Pippen or McGrady, for that matter — in Boston, however none of it occurred.

Boston then needed to wait till 2007 for the Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett trades earlier than profitable the 2008 championship.

If Billups had been a Celtic for longer, or if Pippen had been a Celtic, perhaps Boston would have been a champion early within the 2000s.

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