Back in 1993, the Chicago Bulls finally signed the Croatian basketball star Tony Kukoc for an estimated $ 17.6 million over seven to eight years. The details of the contract at the time were very vague, but it was known that the Bulls would not have any salary cap restrictions after they signed Kukoc since they were entitled to his services ever since they drafted him in 1990.
As a rookie, Kukoc was paid $ 1.1 million during the 93-94 season, which was well below the $ 2.2 million he earned while playing for the Italian basketball club Treviso.
Kukoc decided it was time to join a Bulls team that had won three NBA titles in a row. Quite simply, the opportunity to play with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen could not be missed. Jordan suddenly retired that season, and Kukoc went through a challenging season with Pippen and the rest of the team.
A little over a year later, in August 1994, Croatian Sensation signed a new $ 26 million contract over six years that at the time made him the highest-paid player in the history of the Chicago Bulls, surpassing Jordan and Pippen. Pippen was particularly dissatisfied.
Pippen was dissatisfied with Bulls general manager Jerry Krause and team owner Jerry Reinsdorf that they signed an unproven NBA player (which Kukoc was then). That didn’t sit well with him. The Bulls seemingly ignored Pippen’s market value and showed a lack of seriousness in trying to renegotiate his contract or sign him to a better contract.
But it was not Krause or Reinsdorf’s fault for signing Kukoc on such a lucrative deal. Kukoc indeed had a very sharp and smart agent in a man named Luciano “Lucky” Capicchioni who was in charge of negotiating all the terms and conditions for his new contract.
It would later be proved that giving Kukoc such a deal was a good move by the Bulls. Kukoc played great the following season, and in 1995-96 he was selected as the NBA’s best sixth player and won the first of his three NBA championships that season with the Bulls.