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Scottie Pippen trade to Lakers in ’99 was never on the table, clarifies Jerry West


There were whispers about the great Scottie Pippen once being linked to the Los Angeles Lakers during the tail end of his career. Rumor has it that Pippen himself tried to force a move to the Purple & Gold after spending a single season with the Houston Rockets in the 1998-99 campaign.

As it turns out, however, according to Lakers legend and then-team general manager Jerry West himself, L.A. was never really interested in bringing Pippen to Hollywood.

West made this claim during a recent interview with Jason Quick and Bill Oram of The Athletic (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll):

“There wasn’t one conversation in my mind about him,” West said. “I’ve always admired Scottie Pippen as a player. But listen, we did fine. OK? We did fine.”

The Lakers did do fine, as they ended up winning three consecutive championships from that point on. This was during the days of the Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant era, and while it is undeniable that these two were front and center in the successful run of the Lakers, much credit also has to go to the role players that were on that squad. West and the L.A. front office had a plan in place, and perhaps, bringing in Pippen — which would have entailed having to part ways with some of their assets at that time, and not to mention the salary cap hit they would have sustained — would have messed up everything they had put in motion.

As West implied above, Pippen is an all-time great. Then again, he was not the player they required at that point in time — a decision that obviously paid dividends in hindsight.