If Scottie Pippen was in line for a new deal in today's NBA, he'd be offered one of the most lucrative contracts in the league. A great defender and solid scorer, Pippen would be a headline acquisition for any team. With that in mind, we're going to look at Scottie Pippen's NBA contracts.
Contracts looked a lot different during Pippen's playing days, however. In fact, the salary cap was roughly 10 times smaller than it is today, and its governing rules were still taking shape. Some players got the money they deserved, but most experts argue that Pippen did not.
In this piece, we'll take a look back at Pippen's NBA contracts.
The Seattle Supersonics selected Pippen with the No. 5 overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft. The Chicago Bulls had a great deal of interest in Scottie leading up to that draft, but their selection was at No. 8 overall. Therefore, the Bulls had to make a trade with the Supersonics, sending Olden Polynice and future draft pick options for Pippen's services.
Pippen got the short end of the proverbial stick while playing in Chicago. He wound up signing a seven-year deal that was worth roughly $18 million. For a bit of perspective, Michael Jordan made over $33 million in the 1997-98 season, while Scottie made $2.8 million. It's true that Pippen was not Jordan, but he was clearly an important piece of the team's championship runs throughout the '90s.
In Chicago's final championship season, Pippen was the sixth-highest paid player for the Bulls, and the 122nd highest-paid NBA player. Looking back, it would seem he should have been paid more.
After 11 successful seasons in Chicago, Pippen was traded to the Houston Rockets in 1998 for Roy Rogers and a 2nd round pick in the 2000 NBA Draft. Notably, his salary with the Rockets ($11 million) was nearly four times higher than what he was making with Chicago.
Pippen would eventually go on to sign a four-year, $66 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers in 1999. He actually faced his former coach, Phil Jackson, when the Blazers met the Lakers in the 2000 Western Conference Finals. Portland held a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter of Game 7 in that series, but miraculous efforts from Shaquille O'Neal and the late, great Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles to a come-from-behind victory.
Pippen's run in the NBA came full circle in July of 2003, when he returned to the Bulls on a two-year, $10 million contract. Even more fitting, his final game in the NBA came against the Supersonics (Feb. 2, 2004). However, for the first time in his career, he would not be making a trip to the playoffs, as the Bulls were only able to muster a 23-59 overall record in that campaign. Remarkably, he had reached the playoffs in 16 straight seasons prior to that point (11 appearances with Chicago, one with Houston and four with Portland).
A six-time NBA champion and seven-time All-Star, Pippen made $109,957,430 throughout his professional basketball career. Underpaid, but greatly appreciated.