• Michael Jordan was offered a great deal by New York Knicks in 1996
  • Chicago Bulls immediately matched Knicks offer to retain Jordan
  • Clippers once offered a bizarre deal to sign Jordan

Michael Jordan once considered signing with the New York Knicks during free agency.

During his prime, Jordan only played for the Chicago Bulls. It was in this franchise where he shattered the championship dreams of some of the most promising NBA superstars of his time. Evidently, Jordan in the ‘90s was the player to sign. And some fans might not know, but “MJ” almost signed with the New York Knicks.

In summer of 1996, Jordan became a free agent and David Falk, his agent at the time, felt that his client is worth much more than the rumored 15 and 18 million Chicago was willing to offer. As expected, the world believed that Jordan will re-sign with the Bulls and that no NBA team will be able to match Chicago’s offer.

However, Falk somehow managed to recognize the potential deals for Jordan. More importantly, Falk was able to foresee MJ’s brand and tried to negotiate a deal with the New York Knicks owners.

The offer was indeed appealing as the said Knicks owners happened to also be owners of the ITT & Sheraton. Reports claimed that the general idea was to lure Jordan with an offer to be a spokesman or brand ambassador for ITT & Sheraton which the owners believed would make the greatest player in the world sign with the Knicks.

Eventually, Falk received New York’s offer, and according to a 1997 article from Chicago Tribune, Falk gave a call to Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls Chairmen, saying something along the lines of:

“The Bulls have one hour, maybe the rest of the day, to beat a $25 million offer from the Knicks, or Michael Jordan was going to sign with New York,” Basketball Network reported.

The Knicks were just hours from making what could have been one of the most iconic NBA deals. However, Chicago Bulls responded immediately and increased the offer to $30 million. Upon receiving the counter-offer from the Bulls, Jordan signed the largest single-season contract in NBA history at the time.

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

This wasn’t the first time Jordan was involved in a huge trade deal. In fact, the possibility of Jordan going to different teams occurred on multiple occasions, both in the draft and into his NBA career.

In 1988, the LA Clippers reportedly made an offer of “Michael Jordan for anybody in the roster.” Donald Sterling, the then-owner of the Clippers, would give up anything for Jordan . Sources claimed that Sterling offered the Bulls their pick of any combination of 5 players or draft picks in exchange for MJ. However, the deal didn’t materialized and Jordan stayed with the Bulls.