With the second episode of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” dedicated to backstage drama Scottie Pippen, there has been much talk about the extension of the seven-year, $ 18 million contract he signed in 1991, and whether the Chicago Bulls should restructure its deal.
As I was an NBA certified agent at the time, I wanted to share my thoughts on the situation.
First, the Bulls Could have The Pippen agreement has been restructured. In today’s NBA, teams generally cannot restructure a player’s contract; the only exception is if the player is enlarged and the team has space. But in the 1990s, the Bulls could have tightened Pippen’s contract and given him a new contract while they were under the hat. If you think about the great role he played in the Chicago dynasty, you think the Bulls would have done it. Back then, the teams were taking on full-time contracts, so it felt like the Bulls refused to give up.
Scottie was one of the best players in the NBA and he was absolutely underpaid, so they should have recognized his worth and restructured his deal. I really understand why Scottie was upset.
Certain contexts are important: as Scottie mentions in The Last Dance, his father and brother were both paralyzed and he has 11 siblings. One of Scottie’s top priorities seems to be taking care of his family, which is probably a big reason why he accepted the extension. When he originally signed the extension in 1991, I’m sure it was a relief to know that his NBA salary would continue for another five years. He wanted long-term security, and I respect that he took care of his family.
When he signed the overtime, I remember being surprised. He played very well as a rookie and I thought he was more precious than that. But it’s important to note that the deal didn’t seem too bad in the first few years. In 1992-93, only seven NBA players earned more than Pippen, so he was paid well. When the new NBA collective agreement increased the salary base in 1995, other stars were able to get free agencies and get a substantial raise, but Pippen had the same deal. That was the problem.
However, Pippen had no way of knowing that a new CBA would cause this dramatic change. He also had no way of knowing that he would become one of the best players in the NBA and help the Bulls win multiple championships. The decline is 20/20. In recent years, we have seen similar situations occur. Players who locked themselves up for a long-term contract in 2015 kicked themselves when the cap was pitched a year later due to the new NBA television contract.
I’ve already seen people wondering: why did Pippen not try to get a player option in his contract? The bulls and the owner Jerry Reinsdorf was very much opposed to giving players options at the time, so there was no way for Pippen to get one.
There have been several reports that Pippen’s agents, Jimmy Sexton and Kyle Rote, trying to persuade him not to sign the extension, but still prefers to take it. Even Reinsdorf says he tried to dissuade Pippen from signing the deal, but Pippen would not budge. As an agent, it’s our job to educate and advise our customers about their options, but we can’t let a player do it.
If I had represented Pippen at the time, I would have explained why such an extended extension was risky and advised him not to sign it. I would emphasize this if I met after the meeting. But if he still wants to make the deal, it’s not much that an agent can do. It can be very frustrating if you disagree with a decision made by your client, especially if you know that it might bite later. But we work for the player and at the end of the day, it’s their contract and their life.
If I had known that Pippen was otherwise unconvincing, I would have sat down with him and tried to understand why he was so forced to sign the overtime. Maybe he had a very good reason, or there were serious problems that required it; we do not know. If Pippen was determined to sign the agreement and could not be persuaded, your best bet is to try to understand the best, be in solidarity and find other ways to help the customer.
And from what I understand, Sexton and Rote have done a good job of increasing the subscription opportunities for Scottie, especially after the Bulls started winning championships and Pippen became a household name (so that he can strike like iron in this regard, hot wash)).
“The Last Dance” also touches on the fact that Pippen is constantly appearing in commercial rumors, which also upset him. When my players complain about the rumor, I tell them to ignore it. There are so many rumors and only a small fraction get serious conversations and actually mean something. Most rumors in the trade come and go. You are a professional and you must stay ready and focused at all times so that you do not worry about things. If you also appear in commercial rumors, it simply means that a number of teams are calling and wanting you. It’s really flattering. This is how you should see it. And if you exchange, launch a ** for your new team! They wanted you to give up enough assets to take you away, so take advantage of your new situation. This is what I tell my players.
Despite Pippen’s frustration, he ended up doing well for himself, earning more than $ 107 million from his NBA contracts during his career (largely thanks to his deals with the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers) .
In fact, Pippen ended up earning more than Michael Jordan, so it’s safe to say that it all worked out for him in the end.
Torrel Harris of Unique Sports Management has been a certified NBA agent since the late 1980s. In the 1990s, Harris’ client list was included George Gervin, Lewis Lloyd, Greg Foster and Cliff Robinson among other things. Today, he represents players like Tobias Harris (his son) and Kelly Oubre jr.
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