Jerry Reinsdorf pitched Michael Jordan on returning to the Chicago Bulls for the 98-99 season just a few days into the lockout.
"Don't say anything now," Reinsdorf told Jordan. "We're in a lockout. We don't know how long this lockout is going to go. Let's get to the end, and maybe I can talk Phil [Jackson] back into it. Maybe after ... maybe he'll change his mind. So don't say anything."
Jordan reaffirmed he wouldn't play for anyone except Jackson, but he agreed to not make any final decisions until Reinsdorf talked to Jackson.
"I asked Phil to come back," Reinsdorf said. "And he says, 'No, it's time.' That was the expression he used, 'It's time.'"
Reinsdorf watched each episode of The Last Dance twice.
"The thing nobody wants to remember," Reinsdorf said, "during lockout, Michael was screwing around with a cigar cutter, and he cut his finger. He couldn't have played that year. He had to have surgery on the finger, so even if we could've brought everybody back, it wouldn't have made any sense."
Reinsdorf said it wouldn't have made a difference even if Jordan hadn't injured himself.
"The fact is, it's pretty obvious in 1998 that Michael carried this team," he said. "These guys were gassed. He could not have come back because of the cut finger. But even if he could've come back, the other players [Steve Kerr, Luc Longley, Jud Buechler, Dennis Rodman] were going to get offers that were way in excess of what they were worth.
"I know in Episode 10, [Jordan] says, 'They all would've come back for one year.' But there's not a chance in the world that Scottie Pippen would've come back on a one-year contract when he knew he could get a much bigger contract someplace else."
Pippen went to the Houston Rockets on a five-year, $67.2 million deal in a sign-and-trade.
Reinsdorf said he wishes the Bulls could have gone for one more title, but he's at peace with how things ended.