Scottie Pippen’s Horrible Contract

Worst one ever.

Jim Rome
April 20, 2020 - 11:00 am
Scottie Pippen

USA Today


The hatred of Jerry Krause wasn’t the only thing that was interesting in the two episodes last night. How about the fact that it felt like just about everyone on the planet was watching it? Nine of the trending topics last night were about the Jordan and the Bulls. And for what felt like the first time in a long time, COVID-19 wasn’t connected to any of the trending topics. And how good did that feel. We are able to get away from it. All of it.  For at least two hours. 

And so were some of the other moments last night, like Jordan being pissed about being put on a minutes restriction when he came back from his broken foot, believing the team was limiting him to just 14 minutes per game so they could tank, and get into the lottery..  And telling Stan Albeck, the coach, “Stan, bleep these guys.”

And trying to fight to get a few extra seconds in a must-win game, but Stan saying that he’d lose his job if he did that. And then John Paxson hitting the game winner that sent the team to the playoffs, where Jordan eventually dropped 63 on Boston. 

And, of course, the discussion of the traveling cocaine circus. And Jordan talking about stumbling onto it, and walking right into it:

“I think we were in Peoria, it was in a hotel, and I was trying to find my teammates. I start knocking on doors, I get to this one door, and I could hear someone say, shhh, someone’s outside. This deep voice says, ‘Who is it?’ I say, ‘It’s MJ,’ and they say, ‘Ah, f–k, he’s just a rookie. Don’t worry about it.’ So they open up the door. I walk in, and practically the whole team is in there. It was things I had never seen in my life as a young kid. You got your lines over here, you got your weed smokers over here, you got your women over here.”

And Jordan at the time didn’t even drink. As teammate Rod Higgins said, “Orange juice and 7-Up was his go-to.”

I don’t want to jump to conclusions because I don’t know, but it sure seems like that’s no longer the case. Sure seems like things have changed. Because it sure seemed like Jordan had a nice glass of apple juice next to him when he was being interviewed. That is one hell of a move.

As captivating as the game footage was and the behind the scenes stuff was, I was even more captivated by that glass next to MJ. Sure, the old North Carolina highlights were great and the dunk contest was electric, but not nearly as riveting as that glass. Seeing the level in that glass rise and fall was hypnotic. Between watching the level and trying to figure out what was in that glass, I spent more time on that than I did on the team.  Believe that wouldn’t be the first time someone had a little pop before an interview, and it sure as well won’t be the last. But I think it was the first time I’ve ever seen anyone smashing a pop throughout a sit down interview. Allegedly. And even better, he didn’t even try to hide it. Not off to the side, not pulling from it off camera or during a break, it, whatever it was, was right three throughout. Why just not just fire up one of your cigars while you’re there: it’s not like you’re going anywhere. That was unbelievable. Like I was tweeted last night, MIKE AIN’T PLAYING WITH THAT POUR.

The other main theme of the night was badly the Bulls jammed Scottie Pippen on his contract: or how badly Pippen jammed himself. Jerry Reinsdorf even admitted on the show he advised Pippen NOT to sign it. That it was that bad a deal for the player. And it was that bad of a deal; one of the worst in league history: hell, one of the worst in sports history. 

It’s easy to forget just how horrible Pippen’s contract was at the time. Arguably the second best player on his own team and a sure fire hall of famer: He wasn’t the second highest paid player on the Bulls. He wasn’t the third. Or the fourth. Or the fifth. He was the sixth highest paid player on his own team.

And if that’s not a reason to go, this next number is: he was the 122nd highest paid player in the league.

Sure, he signed the contract. But there are those times when players completely outperform their contract, and ownership has to acknowledge that and make that right.  And Reinsdorf and Krause were never going to do that. Jordan or no Jordan, without Pippen there is no six ring dynasty: Jordan has said as much: yet there was Pippen playing on an 7 year, 18 million dollar contract. Not 7 years, at 18 mill per: 7 years, 18 mill TOTAL! 

What’s more shocking? How badly the Bulls jammed this guy. Or that Scottie signed that contract? Or that the Bulls wouldn’t make it right. No wonder Charles Oakley slapped him in that vid: it was probably moments after seeing what Pippen had agreed to play for. 

Damn that slap had to hurt. An Oak slap is no joke.

But that contract was. No wonder Pippen was in absolutely no hurry to have that surgery during summer and rush back to play. No wonder he dropped this incredible line: “I’m not going to f--- my summer up.”

For who? For what? And I know he had signed a contract. And I know that he signed a super long contract and that a big part of that was because he had witnessed what had happened to his father and his brother and he wanted to know that he’d be taken care of and he could take care of them.

But you have got to be kidding me about that deal. And I’ve got to say, here’s another moment when Jerry Reinsdorf comes off badly. He knew it was an all-time horrible deal for a player: as ruthless as Reinsforf is, he almost seems embarrassed by it. He could have made it right; should have made it right. Or at least, in hindsight should have admitted he should have done something to make it right. But he was interested in any of that. His feeling was, you signed it, you honor it, and I don’t’ give damn who you are. Never mind that who he was, was one of the best to ever do it; nor that fact that he made you zillions; a contract is a contract, and no one put a gun to your head. Reinsdorf could have fixed it, should have fixed it, and didn’t; and sure as hell sounds like a guy who could if he could do it all over again, would. And change nothing.

And of course that leads to crazy tension between Pippen and the front office, Pippen belittling and demeaning Krause repeatedly in front of the team, and Pippen feeling like they left him no choice to but to take care of himself since the team didn’t; and if he was going to get surgery and rehab, he was going to do it on company time, not his own and certainly not if he was going to mess with his summer; something that Jordan says he was not to pleased about.

And I get that side of it too. Jordan is having to carry an extra weight in that season because Pippen isn’t around, so I can see why he’d think Pippen was being selfish on some level. And that nearly blew the team up as well.

But it should have never come to that. The Jerry’s should have done the right thing. They should have given Pippen a new deal at some point along the way. Make a big gesture of it. Tear up the old deal, give him a new one, and then you probably have him willing to f--- up his summer to make sure he’s back in for the regular season. Is it any wonder Scottie, to this day, won’t ever tip anyone? Allegedly. The guy was playing on the worst contract ever. Despite being one of the best players ever.