NBA Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady revealed a wild Michael Jordan story via The Players’ Tribune.
In his appearance on the Knuckleheads podcast, Tracy McGrady told hosts Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson a bit of information some NBA fans might not have been aware of. He was almost traded to the Chicago Bulls on draft night back in 1997 in a deal that would’ve involved Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen.
The Jordan-Pippen relationship has been speculated upon since the early 2000s, with Pippen’s recent actions leading media members and fans to draw certain conclusions. However, their connection on the court was undeniable, as the two went 6-0 in their NBA Finals appearances.
As for T-Mac, he was one of the greatest scorers in league history, accumulating plenty of accolades. He was a seven-time All-Star, seven-time All-NBA selection, two-time scoring champion, and former Most Improved Player of the Year.
His success began with the Orlando Magic, and he became primetime when he developed an iconic on-court rivalry with Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. And to think he was almost a Bull …
"“Draft night, I almost got traded for Scottie,” T-Mac recalled. “The night before the draft, Jerry Krause called my agent, got me up 12 0’clock at night, had me got to a secret location to take a physical. It was about to go down, but MJ made the calls, ‘Yo, if y’all do that, I’m retiring.’ So he stopped that real quick.”"
The Bulls-Magic draft day trade very well could’ve given the NBA the best one-two-punch in league history. However, Jordan made sure the deal didn’t happen and made his displeasure clear, threatening then-GM Jerry Krause with retirement.
The Last Dance revealed that Pippen’s relationship with the front office was always rocky thanks his contract not living up to his on-court production. Krause wanted Pippen gone and made it clear through his actions. Jordan made sure Pippen couldn’t get the boot by pulling trump cards when needed.
At the time, the Bulls were coming off of their fifth championship and were looking to three-peat. The 1997-98 season, famously known as that last dance, has been described as the toughest campaign of their dynasty.
Despite their inner conflicts, they still ran through the NBA. They completed the three-peat and then went their separate ways. While the Pippen-McGrady trade could’ve added unneeded longevity to an already-prolific NBA powerhouse, the outcome still worked in the Bulls’ favor.
Jordan was all about winning and, at that point, he was in a “win now” mode. In his eyes, nothing mattered more than winning, not his suspect relationship with Pippen or Krause’s crappy relationship with just about everyone. They were champions and knew each other well. And it’s no surprise he didn’t want to interrupt that chemistry.