CHICAGO -- Scottie Pippen, who enjoyed the best year of his career and helped lead the Chicago Bulls to their first NBA title, Monday signed a contract extension said to be worth $18 million.
The Bulls refused to release terms of the deal, but the extension reportedly is worth $18 million spread over this past season and the next seven. Pippen's previous contract, which had two more years remaining, was to pay him $765,000 this season, the sixth-highest paid player on the team.
'I'm pleased that the contract situation is behind me, and I can now concentrate on working hard this summer toward helping the team win a second consecutive NBA championship,' Pippen said.
'I've worked hard to become the player I am, and it makes me feel great that Bulls management was so gracious and felt I deserved the contract I now have.'
The announcement came less than a week after the Bulls captured the championship. The Chicago Tribune reported last Friday the deal had been struck after Game 2 of the Finals.
Pippen, a four-year veteran, was an All-Star in 1990 but not in 1991 when he had his finest season, averaging 17.8 points (second behind Michael Jordan), 7.3 rebounds and 6.2 assists. The 6-foot-7 former Central Arkansas star also averaged 2.35 steals, ranking fifth in the league, and shot 52 percent from the field.
The Tribune reported Pippen will make more than $6 million in the next two seasons, with the deal topping out at over $3.3 million in 1992-93. In all, he will average about $2.6 million for this past season and the next seven.
Jerry Krause, Bulls vice president of basketball operations, said he is happy to have Pippen's contract situation settled.
'He's an important cog in our championship team and has proved without a doubt to be one of the league's premier players,' Krause said.
Pippen, 25, criticized team management during the season for stalling in renegotiation, and at one point suggested they trade him.
Named to the NBA All-Defensive second team this season, Pippen averaged 20.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 2.4 steals during this year's Finals.