Pippen says he’s serious about wanting a trade
SEATTLE (AP) _ Scottie Pippen has decided he’d rather be traded and remember the good times at Chicago from afar than remain mired in a dispute with Bulls general manager Jerry Krause.
For the second time in three days, Pippen said he wanted to play for another team _ and not necessarily just the Los Angeles Lakers or the Phoenix Suns.
Meeting with reporters for about 10 minutes Tuesday after the Bulls practiced at Key Arena for their game against the Seattle SuperSonics, Pippen was asked if he thought he would play for the Bulls again.
``I don’t think so,″ he replied.
And if he isn’t traded?
``I don’t know,″ Pippen said. ``I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.″
He sat on the bench in street clothes Tuesday night, recovering from foot surgery as the Sonics beat the Bulls 91-90. When asked if Pippen’s trade demands had been a distraction, Michael Jordan replied, ``Not to me.″
Pippen, a key player in the Bulls’ five championships in the ’90s, first voiced his trade demand Sunday in an interview with a suburban Chicago newspaper.
``I think I’ve been treated very unfairly through this organization, and ... it’s gotten to the point now, I don’t see myself carrying on with it,″ Pippen said Tuesday. ``I would rather leave things as I can remember them as a player and go on.
``It’s very difficult. I have a lot of respect for teammates and the fans in Chicago. I’ve enjoyed my 10 years playing here.
``I never saw the day when I would have to turn the other cheek. It just sort of came to that.″
Pippen’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, did not return phone calls.
Krause has said it’s unlikely the Bulls would be willing to trade Pippen. A proposed deal with Boston in June collapsed the day of the NBA draft.
``You never close doors,″ Krause said Monday. ``However, we spent a tremendous amount of money to bring this team back intact...
``It would take a knockout deal for us to trade any key guy on our team ... If somebody doesn’t knock us out, I’m not going to trade Scottie.″
If Krause did entertain offers, the Lakers might be inclined to move Eddie Jones, nearly dealt to Sacramento two weeks ago for Mitch Richmond.
The Suns, who have been trying to deal Cedric Ceballos and Steve Nash, probably couldn’t get Pippen unless they’d consider trading Jason Kidd.
Pippen said he had not spoken to Krause since voicing his trade demand.
``I probably haven’t talked to him much since I’ve been here. That’s the type of respect I’ve gotten since I’ve been here. Why should we create a relationship now?″ Pippen said.
``It’s just been mind-boggling for me for quite a while _ all the way back to the summer, talk of the trade, Jerry sending me faxes threatening me not to play, what he would do to me, things of that nature.
``I think I deserve a little more respect than that.″
The Bulls are 8-6 after losing just 13 games all of the last regular season and going 72-10 in 1995-96. Pippen hasn’t played this season, and his absence has been blamed for Chicago’s slow start.
``I’m not in any shape, form or fashion ready to go out and perform in a game situation,″ he said.
In his 10 years with the Bulls, Pippen has often feuded with team management. One longstanding issue is his contract, which pays $2.775 million this season _ the 122nd highest salary in the league.
``Whatever he’s got to work out with management, he’s got to work out,″ coach Phil Jackson said Tuesday. ``Whatever is his own personal ax to grind, he’s going to have to take care of that.″
Pippen’s contract expires at the end of the season, making him a free agent. Krause has said he’s more inclined to keep Pippen and try to win another championship than he is to trade him.
``I talked with Scottie. I think he’s vacillating as to how he feels,″ Jackson said. ``He’s got mixed emotions about some things. He feels psychologically he’s got to heal as well as physically in some sense.″
Meanwhile, the Bulls will go on.
``We’re going to be as tightly meshed as we always have been, and we’re going to wait for his return to the team,″ Jackson said. ``When he’s ready to come back, we’ll be happy to have him back.″