Chicago, IL, USA; Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson of the Chicago Bulls holding three of their championship trophies after a NBA Championship parade through Chicago. Mandatory Credit: Cliff Welch-Icon Sportswire

NBA debates are always better with “what if” scenarios and George Karl recalls one that included Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Shawn Kemp

No, Jordan wasn’t getting traded. Pippen, on the other hand, almost was. NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman got a copy of George Karl’s book — the same book where he slanders Carmelo Anthony — where Karl tells readers that Shawn Kemp, Ricky Pierce and the Seattle SuperSonics’ number one pick was a package for Scottie.

In short, Karl called Jordan in 1994 while he was taking his baseball sabbatical. MJ said, “Do it.” The 1993-94 season was Pippen’s best year. He earned an All-Star nod and averaged 22 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.9 steals while leading the Bulls to a 55-27 record. Chicago went down in seven games to the New York Knicks in the second-round of the playoffs.

This scenario could’ve altered the legacy of three of the decade’s best players. And what’s even crazier is that Jordan gave Karl his blessing to trade for Pippen.

Karl, Kemp and the Sonics peaked during 1994 season. Seattle finished 63-19 after being led by their incredible Gary Payton/Kemp duo. The Reign Man nabbed his second-straight All-Star selection behind averages of 18.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks, while Ricky Pierce was on his way down from his prime.

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It’s highly unlikely Jordan comes back and wins three championships if the deal had gotten executed — come to think of it, he might have come back at all. Kemp, who was a great player, didn’t bring the all-around versatility that Pippen did. More importantly, Scottie was a guy who could create his own offense while being someone who could facilitate it just as effectively.

Chicago won 55 games with Pippen as the go-to guy. Kemp couldn’t have done that.

Pippen was also a much more disciplined defender. But, it’s because of style. Kemp was as energetic as he was athletic, and he racked up a ton of steals and blocks because of it. He also picked up his fair share of fouls. Pippen, who wasn’t a shot blocker, could guard three — sometimes four positions — and virtually locked down whoever was playing on the perimeter.

Speculation is so much fun; especially when it has the implications that this scenario has.

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