A Trade That Never Happened: Shawn Kemp For Scottie Pippen

Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

A Trade That Never Happened: Shawn Kemp For Scottie Pippen


Scottie Pippen was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in 1987, but was traded to the Chicago Bulls for Olden Polynice. Pippen then enjoyed an illustrious career with the Bulls, becoming one of the best small forwards to ever play the game and eventually racking up 6 championships with Michael Jordan. But things could’ve been so different from the way it was supposed to be. 

After Jordan’s first retirement and during the 1994 NBA draft, the Seattle Supersonics and the Chicago Bulls almost performed a trade that could’ve changed the NBA landscape. It was rumored that the trade proposal involved Shawn Kemp, 2x Sixth Man of the Year Ricky Pierce, and a draft pick in exchange for Scottie Pippen. 

At the same time, Michael Jordan also saw a potential that the Sonics would’ve had won a championship with Pippen and reportedly pushed for the trade to happen. It was revealed that Jordan encouraged George Karl who was the Sonics coach that year, that the trade would’ve benefited them. Jordan told him;

per Chicago Tribune:


You’ll be getting the best of it.” He said he thought the deal would assure Seattle a championship next season.


The trade, however, didn’t fall through. One story coming from Shawn Kemp himself pertains to a phone call conversation with Sonics owner Barry Ackery after the trade almost happened.

per LA Times:


“Ackerley called me and told me they weren’t going to make the trade,” Kemp said. “He was telling me people were calling the local radio stations saying they were going to burn down the stadium if I was traded.” Just prior to the 1994 draft, the Sonics told the Bulls the deal was off. 


The Chicago Bulls remained with Pippen and continued their dominance with Michael Jordan coming back in 1995. In 1996, the Bulls faced Shawn Kemp’s Seattle Supersonics, and the two fought a hard-nosed battle with Bulls winning in 6 games and capturing their 4th championship.

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