I’ll give George Karl this- he’s definitely dropping some interesting nuggets of information in his new book, “Furious George: My Forty Years Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs, and Poor Shot Selection.”

Karl’s already made headlines for ripping Kenyon Martin and Carmelo Anthony and claiming NBA matches could have been fixed. Now, a new excerpt from Karl’s book has made it online, where he reveals the Chicago Bulls and his Seattle SuperSonics agreed to a deal to trade Scottie Pippen for Shawn Kemp. To top it off, the deal was reportedly approved by Michael Jordan (h/t: NBC Sports):

The Bulls saw an opportunity. Four days before the draft, Jerry Krause called. The Chicago GM, who’d visited me in Spain, had a proposal: Kemp, Pierce, and our number one for Scottie Pippen. Pippen was the best small forward, or 3, in the league. Nothing he wasn’t good at. During one of Michael’s retirements, Scottie led his team in all five of the main categories—rebounds, scoring, blocks, steals, and assists—so rare that it had only happened once before in NBA history (Dave Cowens, for the Celtics, in 1977-78). But with his running buddy MJ now a baseball player, maybe Pippen was a little disconnected. When I tried to imagine the Sonics without Shawn I knew I’d miss him, but I got pretty excited picturing Gary and Scottie teaming up on a trap; they’d smother opposing guards. But every trade prompts a debate. I was in favor of this one but I wasn’t sure.

So I called Michael. We talked about minor-league baseball, North Carolina basketball, and golf. Then we talked about the big deal on the table. Should we do this?

“Do it,” he said. “Scottie can make your other players better. Kemp can’t.”

So, the day before the draft, we said yes. News of the trade immediately leaked out and onto the KJR airwaves. More anger from the callers, a lot more; our fans loved Shawn. Again, Ackerley listened. That afternoon, he called our draft headquarters in the Sonics locker room. It doesn’t feel right, he told Wally. Better wait. I had the unpleasant job of calling Krause, who was not happy.

While we dragged our feet on draft day, Krause got desperate. He called to tell me the Bulls would drop the demand for our number one pick. He offered a big chunk of money in the next call. Then he called back to double it. Literally minutes before the draft started, Ackerley backed us out of the deal. When I delivered the bad news, Krause dropped f-bombs and called me names. We’d keep Kemp, they’d keep Pippen.

That’s one heck of a missed deal for the SuperSonics.

The Chicago Bulls would go on to win three more championships with Pippen during Jordan’s comeback. Meanwhile, Kemp sharply declined before being out of the league in 2003. With Pippen, the SuperSonics — ironically the team that drafted him and traded him on draft night — would have been a much more rounded team. Now, they don’t exist. I’d like to think Karl would have liked for that deal to go through.

I don’t doubt the validity of the deal and it’s certainly nice to see Karl making headlines without insulting a former player or coach. I’m still mildly intrigued with his book, especially if it has more great stories like the Pippen-Kemp non-trade. It’s an all-time “what if” deal.

[NBC Sports]

About Liam McGuire

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