In Jonathan Abrams' book "Boys Among Men," it was revealed that Tracy McGrady was nearly traded to the Chicago Bulls for Scottie Pippen on draft night in 1997, but Michael Jordan vetoed it. On Thursday on ESPN's "The Jump," McGrady confirmed that story.
Tracy McGrady: The Bulls tried to trade Scottie Pippen for me on draft night, but Michael Jordan vetoed the deal pic.twitter.com/eWYgMok0aZ— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) June 23, 2016
It's a shocking revelation that could have drastically altered the entirety of NBA history. If Pippen is traded, the Bulls likely don't win the 1998 title, as Michael Jordan would finish with five rings and the Raptors might have wound up with a future Hall of Famer in his prime. McGrady with the Bulls might have also changed things dramatically as McGrady would learn under Jordan, but how McGrady would handle the pressure of being traded for Pippen and Jordan's reaction to that might have been rough.
McGrady went on to be an All-Star player whose career was cruelly cut short by injury, but if things had worked for the Bulls, who knows? Maybe Jordan comes back for an extra year and they win even more titles. Maybe McGrady winds up thriving and carrying the Bulls forward, avoiding the entire Baby Bulls era, which means that Tyson Chandler never winds up in New Orleans, which vaults Chris Paul to superstardom and eventually results in Chandler winding up on the Mavericks and helping them to secure a title. If McGrady isn't there, how does the Vince Carter era go in Toronto? Does he never wind up on the Nets?
All of NBA history shifts if that trade goes through.
But in the end, the only word that mattered was "No," from the lips of Michael Jordan. And that's that.