Tracy McGrady: The Bulls tried to trade Scottie Pippen for me on draft night, but Michael Jordan vetoed the deal pic.twitter.com/eWYgMok0aZ
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) June 23, 2016
We love a good basketball “what if” scenario, and Tracy McGrady stopped by The Jump to talk about an all-timer: how he was almost part of a draft-day trade in which the Bulls would send Scottie Pippen to the Raptors in exchange for the right to draft a rookie McGrady. It progressed so far that the teenage phenom was secretly flown into Chicago to have a physical, and only was stopped because Michael Jordan threatened to retire if the Bulls traded Pippen. Here’s the end of the story:
Of course, MJ wound up making the right call, since the Bulls went on to win their sixth championship with he and Scottie leading the way the next year. That almost certainly would not have happened had Pippen been replaced with an 18-year-old T-Mac, no matter how precocious he was. There simply wasn’t a substitute for the combination of offensive versatility and defensive tenacity that Scottie brought to the table.
Then again, Jordan retired a year later, and one can’t help but wonder how the presence of McGrady would have changed the fallow period for the Bulls following the departure of the greatest player of all time. A title is always worth it, though.