Pippen says he wants to play for contender

Updated: February 19, 2007, 2:45 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

LAS VEGAS -- Scottie Pippen is tired of retirement. He wants to return to the NBA for a chance to win his seventh championship ring.

With most of the league's stars and decision-makers gathering at the All-Star weekend festivities in Las Vegas, Pippen, 41, announced he's hoping for a late-season return to a contending team -- preferably in a warm-weather city -- nearly two years after he left the league.

"I know that I have the skills," Pippen said. "I think it's sort of been on my mind the last couple of months. It's just about me going out and polishing my skills."

The forward hasn't played since his retirement on Oct. 5, 2004, following a 17-season career with Chicago, Houston and Portland. He won six titles in his famed role as Michael Jordan's wingman with the Bulls, and he was part of two gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic teams.

Pippen has been working out in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., during the winter, and he thinks the time is right to add his experience and defensive prowess to a contending club, perhaps in Miami or San Antonio.

"This is definitely a stage I can use to get the word out there," Pippen said. "I would only do this for a contender."

Pippen once was one of the NBA's most feared defenders, and his offensive skills were an ideal complement to Jordan's abilities. He had most of his best seasons at Jordan's side, while his scoring averages and general satisfaction with the game dropped considerably after Jordan's second retirement in 1998.

Pippen retired after returning to the Bulls to play just 23 games in the 2003-04 season. Chicago retired his No. 33 on Dec. 9, 2005.

Pippen said he would be open to offers from any team, but also said he would contact a few unnamed teams in hopes of getting the best destination.

"I'm not sure if there's anything to it, but I think it's something everyone will do their due diligence on," Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry told ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan.

Chicago Bulls GM John Paxson told Sheridan: "I think he should be getting into coaching."

The All-Stars gathered in Las Vegas mostly seemed warm to the idea of playing with Pippen -- or even alongside him.

"I know it's hard when guys leave the game," Washington's Gilbert Arenas said. "They're sitting there analyzing, and they're getting itchy. If he's ready, he's ready. Maybe I can get another autographed jersey from him.

Miami's Dwyane Wade also liked the idea of a comeback with the Heat.

"I'm already playing with [Gary] Payton and Shaq, two guys I used to play with on video games," Wade said. "To add Scottie Pippen to the mix, that would be crazy."

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan was used in this report.