According to an excerpt from Jerry Krause's unpublished memoir, the trade that sent Scottie Pippen to the Houston Rockets was a “going-away present” after Pippen's years of championship-level play while on a laughably cheap contract.
Krause recalls a meeting with Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the team's medical staff that July. It persuaded him that the aging roster was physically breaking down and a rebuild was necessary. Once that was determined, the dominoes started to fall, leading to the trade of Pippen and Michael Jordan's retirement the following winter.
As Krause explains, dealing Pippen in a sign-and-trade with Houston (for Roy Rogers and a second-round pick) enabled Pippen to earn an extra $20-25 million. That was thanks to added incentives and an extra year the Bulls were allowed to write into the deal. “Pippen’s agents asked us to do Scottie a favor … Jerry and I gave him his going-away present.”
Krause also pushed back on the perception that he demolished the team for ego-related reasons, which he has been repeatedly accused of over the years.
Did we break up the winning team so that we could satisfy our own egos and win without those players and coaches? Do you really think that people who worked for so many years to win and then win again and again would be dumb enough to let egos get in the way of trying to win again? Do you think that an organization built with one single purpose, from its chairman on down through the lowest-ranking member of the front office — to win championships — would easily give up that thought?