Tracy McGrady was drafted with the No. 9 pick of the 1997 NBA draft by Toronto where he began his NBA career but he was apparently close to joining the Chicago Bulls.
McGrady was nearly traded to Chicago in exchange for Scottie Pippen, but Jordan did not want the deal to happen.“What a lot of people don't know about that night is that Jerry Krause was actually trying to make a trade for me and Scottie Pippen,” McGrady said. “MJ called and axed that whole deal. Jerry Krause, the general manager of the Chicago Bulls during the time, was very interested in Tracy McGrady and held "secret meetings" with him leading up to the NBA Draft.
It's a shocking revelation that could have drastically altered the entirety of NBA history. If Pippen is traded, the Bulls likely don't win the 1998 title, as Michael Jordan would finish with five rings and the Raptors might have wound up with a future Hall of Famer in his prime. McGrady with the Bulls might have also changed things dramatically as McGrady would learn under Jordan, but how McGrady would handle the pressure of being traded for Pippen and Jordan's reaction to that might have been rough.
Of course, it's not surprising at all that this trade was stopped by Michael Jordan since he did not want to deal with "mentoring" a player that was coming straight out of high school in exchange for his best sidekick on the team.
This trade definitely now turns to one of the biggest "What Ifs" in NBA history. Would this have given the Utah Jazz the chance to win a ring? How would this trade have affected the Chicago Bulls in the long run by having an asset like Tracy McGrady? In the end, the only word that mattered was "No," from the lips of Michael Jordan. And that's that, we'll never know what would've happened if this trade would've gone through.