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Pippen Headed To Houston

Scottie Pippen will be traded from the Chicago Bulls to the Houston Rockets immediately after the lockout ends, several league sources told The Associated Press on Monday.

The Bulls, who will sign Pippen to a deal worth $67.2 million for five years before trading him, will get forward Roy Rogers and a second-round draft pick in return.

Although the salaries for Pippen and Rogers do not match, the deal is allowable under NBA rules because Houston will have enough salary cap room to fit in Pippen's contract. His salary for this season will be $10.6 million.

The deal will not be finalized until the lockout ends Wednesday or Thursday.

Pippen, a six-time champion with the Bulls, had talked to the Rockets about signing with them as a free agent. It was not immediately clear why he agreed to a sign-and-trade deal, but other teams were known to be discussing other sign-and-trade deals with Bulls general manager Jerry Krause.

The acquisition of Pippen should clear the way for Charles Barkley to re-sign with Houston. It will give the Rockets a formidable front line of Barkley, Pippen and Hakeem Olajuwon.

"We're not going to confirm anything," Rockets spokesman Tim Frank said. "The lockout is technically not over. We're still under lockout restrictions. No deal can officially be done until that cloak is lifted."

Pippen, 33, has been with Chicago since the 1987-88 season when he was drafted out of Central Arkansas. Last year, the forward averaged 19.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

The seven-time All-star is considered one of the top three free agents up for grabs as NBA teams prepare to open training camps delayed by the 6½-month lockout.

Pippen should be in uniform for the Rockets when they play an exhibition game against San Antonio on Saturday.

The Rockets also were interested in the other top two free agents, Antonio McDyess and Tom Gugliotta.

But McDyess ruled out Houston as a possibility over the weekend, and Gugliotta appears likely to sign with Minnesota or Denver.

© 1999 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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