The Chicago Bulls’ dynasty fell apart after the 1998 NBA Finals as the front office dismantled the roster to start a rebuild. Michael Jordan retired for the second time, and the team moved on from both Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman.

Jordan wanted to return to Chicago in 1999 and go for a fourth straight championship. With head coach Phil Jackson choosing to leave and the Bulls moving on from most of their veterans, even the greatest basketball player of all time wouldn’t have had much of a chance to win a title in the lockout-shortened season.

“It would’ve been suicidal at that point in their careers to bring back Pippen, Steve Kerr, Rodman, Ron Harper,” Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in “The Last Dance,” regarding his decision to break up the team. “Their market value individually was gonna be too high. They weren’t gonna be worth the money they were gonna get on the market.”

Chicago had a league-high $61.3 million payroll in the 1997-1998 season. The Bulls’ payroll plummeted to $28.6 million in 1999, ranking 28th in the league, according to HoopsHype.

Jordan’s departure was the biggest reason for the massive decrease in Chicago’s payroll. The six-time champion led all NBA players with a $33.14 million salary, earning more money than the league’s $26.9 million salary cap in 1998. Patrick Ewing was the NBA’s second highest-paid player that season with a $20.5 million salary.

Pippen was clearly the Bulls’ second-best player, but he wasn’t paid like it. Jordan’s co-star earned $2.775 million in 97-98, putting him behind five of his teammates. It’s a large reason why Pippen wanted out of Chicago, even asking for a trade at the start of the season.

The Bulls sent Pippen to the Houston Rockets as part of a sign-and-trade before the 1999 season. Pippen signed a five-year, $67 million contract.

Rodman made $4.5 million in his final season with Chicago. He signed a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999.

Toni Kukoc and Ron Harper both made $4.56 million for the 97-98 Bulls. They were the two highest-paid players on the ‘99 Bulls with a combined salary of $9.89 million.

Chicago went 62-20 before winning the 1998 Finals to complete its second three-peat in eight years. The Bulls missed the 1999 playoffs with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, going 13-37.

Michael Jordan
NBA Hall of Famer and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan walks off the court during the NBA All-Star Game 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Feb. 14, 2016. Elsa/Getty Images