Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were the cornerstones of one of the all-time great dynasties in sports history, leading the Chicago Bulls to six championships in eight years in the 1990s. Despite their success, the duo was nearly broken up after five titles.

ESPN’s “The Last Dance” debuted Sunday night, taking a closer look at the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls. The second part of the 10-part docuseries focused on Pippen, noting that the star forward was nearly traded before the team’s sixth and final championship run.

“We had a number of offers we thought were good offers for Scottie and for some of our other players,” former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause told reporters in 1997. “I’m never going to stop being aggressive and I will never stop trying to do things to make the team better.”

Jordan retired for the first time in 1993 following three straight Bulls’ championships. Chicago went 55-27 in the 1993-1994 season and reached Game 7 of the conference semifinals as Pippen led the team in scoring and finished third in the NBA MVP race. Jordan returned toward the end of the 1994-1995 season before the Bulls were ousted in the second round of the playoffs.

Chicago won the title in both 1996 and 1997, giving the Bulls a championship in each of Jordan’s last five full seasons with the team. Still, Krause considered breaking up the core and fielded offers for Chicago’s second-best player.

Owner Jerry Reinsdorf was determined for the Bulls to go for their second three-peat of the decade.

“I killed that because I decided that as long as Michael Jordan was still gonna be here, we gotta go for the sixth championship,” Reinsdorf said of a potential Pippen trade in “The Last Dance.”

According to Tracy McGrady, he was part of a potential trade for Pippen. McGrady said on ESPN’s “The Jump” that Krause tried to acquire him in a deal that involved Pippen, but Jordan prevented the trade from happening.

The Toronto Raptors took McGrady with the No.9 overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. McGrady made the All-Star team each year from 2001-2007.

Hearing his name in trade rumors and making less money than 121 other NBA players for the 1997-1998 season, Pippen demanded a trade in November. The Bulls’ great had ankle surgery in October of that year, purposely delaying the procedure so he could enjoy his summer and rehab during the season.

The Bulls held onto Pippen for the season and went on to win the 1998 NBA Finals. Pippen averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 44 games. Pippen was a First-Team All-Defense and a Third-Team All-NBA selection that season.

Head coach Phil Jackson left the Bulls that offseason and Jordan retired for the second time, never playing for Chicago again. The Bulls sent Pippen to the Houston Rockets as part of a sign-and-trade in January 1999.

Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen was named NBA All-Defensive First Team eight consecutive times during his career. Getty Images