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Pippen: Jordan & I Won't Return

Currently recovering from back surgery, Scottie Pippen told WGN Radio in Chicago during the broadcast of Friday's Cubs-San Francisco Giants game he does not think either he or fellow superstar and friend Michael Jordan will return to the Bulls for the 1998-99 season.

"I do not foresee a return to the Chicago Bulls because with each passing day it becomes more evident that I'll be going somewhere else," Pippen told WGN. "The fans are great and I know they want everyone back. But as players, we believe it's over."

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Pippen is a seven-time All-Star who has teamed with Jordan to lead Chicago to three consecutive NBA championships and six in eight years.

But Phil Jackson resigned as coach in June and was replaced on July 23 by former Iowa State coach Tim Floyd. Jordan often has said he would not play for any coach other than Jackson and apparently repeated that in a recent conversation with Pippen.

"I believe Michael will not play again. I think he's done," said Pippen, who said he had spoken to Jordan within the last week. "He will not play for anyone other than Phil Jackson."

The 32-year-old Pippen will become a free agent as soon as the NBA lockout is resolved. He has had a long-running feud with management over his salary, which last season was a relatively low $2.77 million.

He is believed to be seeking a multiyear deal worth $10-15 million per season and has expressed a desire to play for the Phoenix Suns or Los Angeles Lakers.

Pippen did not seem to be feeling any ill effects of the lower back surgery he underwent on July 28 to repair two herniated discs. Joined by his brother, he spent the afternoon walking around Wrigley Field, smoking a cigar, "having a cold one" and watching Sammy Sosa hit another homer.

"I'm recovering very well from back surgery," Pippen said. "Ive already begun light rehab and I feel great."

Pippen was a member of the U.S. Olympic teams in 1992 and 1996 that won golmedals and in 1996 was selected as one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players.

© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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