Jerry West says he never tried to trade for Scottie Pippen: “I’ve always admired Scottie Pippen as a player. But listen, we did fine”

After the Bulls Dynasty was over, there was talk that Scottie Pippen was trying to move to Los Angeles to reunite with Phil Jackson and form a Big 3 with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Some even said that Pippen would be the final piece to the Lakers' championship puzzle.

However, according to ex-GM Jerry West, the man who put together L.A.'s three-peat team, Pippen wearing Purple and Gold was never close. In fact, it wasn't even discussed.

"There wasn't one conversation in my mind about him," West said. "I've always admired Scottie Pippen as a player. But listen, we did fine. OK? We did fine."

Pippen ended up with the Blazers

The Pippen to Lakers rumors happened when the former Chicago Bull wanted to get out of  Houston following a falling out with Charles Barkley after just one season together.

Reportedly, Pippen wanted the Rockets to trade him to the Lakers, where he could rejoin Jackson and win more championships with Kobe and Shaq. But instead of going to LaLa Land, Pippen ended up in Rip City.

"The Lakers were trying to get Pippen, and Pippen wanted to get to the Lakers. I got in the middle and f***ed it up for the Lakers. Had they gotten Pippen, we wouldn't be talking about a Game 7, They would have won 70 games," former Blazers GM Bob Whitsitt said.

Portland ended up trading six players; Ed Gray, Walt Williams, Carlos Rogers, Stacey Augmon, Kelvin Cato, and Brian Shaw to acquire Pippen. The Blazers also added veteran guard Steve Smith and sixth-man supreme Detlef Schrempf to bolster their championship bid. Portland finished with the 3rd best record in the West at 59-23.

The Lakers were just fine without Pippen

Whether Whitsitt was correct that the Lakers targeted Pippen before he ended up with Portland, the Lakers also had a busy offseason back then. West beefed up the Lakers' roster with veterans like A.C. Green, Ron Harper, John Salley, and Shaw, who was released by the Rockets after the Pippen trade.

After joining the Lakers, Salley said he thought Pippen was heading there too: "Scottie was Phil's favorite player. I thought he was gong to be a Laker, too."

But as West said, Los Angeles did just fine without Pippen and he was being modest. The Lakers finished with the best record in the NBA that season at 67-15 and they would race to the Western Conference Finals where interestingly, they faced Pippen and the Blazers in what turned out to be a thrilling seven-game series.

Pippen and Portland looked on to oust the Lakers and justify the offseasons big trade. The Blazers entered the 4th quarter with a 13-point lead. But Portland suddenly went cold as they missed 13 consecutive shots to allow the Lakers to come back. Kobe blew by Pippen and threw that iconic alley-oop to Shaq as the Lakers produced the greatest comeback ever in a Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. 

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