The Chicago Bulls came very close to going for a fourth consecutive NBA championship and seventh in nine years. On the final episode of The Last Dance, Michael Jordan revealed he would have returned for the Bulls for one more year after the team won their sixth title in 1997-98. Before that season began, the team announced that head coach Phil Jackson would not return as they were looking to rebuild.
"If you asked all the guys who won in '98 ... 'We'll give you a one-year contract to try for a seventh,' you think they would've signed? Yes, they would've signed," Jordan said on The Last Dance, as transcribed by ESPN. "Would I have signed for one year? Yes, I would've signed for one year. I've been signing one-year contracts up to that." Instead, Jordan retired for the second time, while Scottie Pippen and Steve Kerr were traded. Dennis Rodman was released, and all the moves led the Bulls not winning another title since. Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf was asked about breaking up the team on The Last Dance. He said the money was a big issue, but he did offer Jackson to return to Bulls for one more year.
"After the sixth championship, I offered him the opportunity to come back," Reinsdorf said. "[I said,] 'You've earned the opportunity to come back, regardless of what was said before now.'" Jackson said he wanted to take a break and him returning would make things difficult for general manager Jerry Krause, who told him they were moving on to another head coach. Jordan was shown Reinsdorf's comments and he explained that Jackson was not going to be the head coach in 1998-99. He also said if Jackson returned, everyone would have been back for another run.
"Would Phil have done it? Yes," Jordan said. "Now, [Pippen], you would've had to do some convincing. But if Phil was going to be there, if Dennis was going to be there, if MJ was going to be there, to win our seventh? Pip is not going to miss out on that." The Bulls would have been the team to beat in 1999 because they have won the last three titles, but it's not a guarantee they would have won. It took the Bulls seven games to take down the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals in 1998. It also took a last-second shot by Jordan in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz to take home the title.