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What happened after 'The Last Dance'? A look back at the 1999 Bulls without Jordan, Pippen and Jackson.

Jamal Collier, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Basketball

CHICAGO -- After the Bulls won their fifth NBA championship in 1997, Michael Jordan sat at the postgame news conference and fielded a question about a potential rebuild.

"No one is guaranteed rebuilding in two, three or four years. The Cubs have been rebuilding for 42 years," he said, referencing their then-drought without a World Series appearance.

A similar quip could be made about the Bulls now: 22 years after Jordan played his final game for the franchise, the team has not returned to the NBA Finals since. The Bulls have been to the Eastern Conference finals only once in that span, getting dispatched by LeBron James and the Heat in five games in 2011.

That "Last Dance" season of 1997-98 produced a sixth championship in eight years with Jordan still at the peak of his powers before the dynasty came to a halt the following season, which didn't begin until February 1999 because of a lockout. Jordan retired for the second time, Scottie Pippen was sent to the Rockets in a sign-and-trade deal and coach Phil Jackson went on his first sabbatical.

Only a few holdovers remained from the championship team, and the Bulls headed into a certain losing season for the first time since Jordan's first few seasons in the league.

Toni Kukoc led the team in points (18.8), rebounds (7.0) and assists (5.3) per game. The Bulls, meanwhile, scuffled to just 13 wins (a .260 winning percentage) during a season shortened to 50 games by the lockout, the lowest number of wins in team history.

 

And that team still holds a dubious place in NBA history -- it scored 49 points during an April loss to the Heat, the fewest points by any team in the shot-clock era.

There will be no 10-part documentary on the 1999 Bulls, but here's a look back at the team charged with following "The Last Dance," including where they were during the 1997-98 season, whom they replaced and their contributions to the Bulls in the lockout-shortened season:

The holdovers

Toni Kukoc

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