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New York Knicks pick up option on Chauncey Billups

With Chauncey Billups having an injury plagued season and possibly not being as well suited to Mike D’Antoni’s offense as a more up-tempo point guard would be, along with the fact that the final year of his contract is pricey, there was at least some speculation that the New York Knicks would decline Billups’ option and allow him to become a free agent. This understandably had some Pistons fans excited, hoping maybe the team and Billups would be interested in a Ben Wallace-style reunion as Billups finishes out his career.

Unfortunately, it won’t happen this offseason. The Knicks decided to pick up Billups’ option yesterday. From Marc Berman of the NY Post:

Billups could have been waived by tomorrow’s deadline and bought out for $3.7 million. The savings, however, would have brought the Knicks under the salary cap by, at best, $8 million, and they would have been in dire need of a point guard amid a bare free-agent crop.

“We have made a decision to keep Chauncey Billups for the upcoming 2011-12 season,” Walsh said in a statement.

“Chauncey, Amar’e [Stoudemire] and Carmelo are a great nucleus, as we continue to look to improve our team going into the offseason. Chauncey is an extremely talented and experienced point guard — we are very happy to have him back.”

As nice as it would’ve been to see Billups back in Detroit, it was kind of a pipe-dreamy scenario. Billups is aging and does have some flaws, but the Knicks wouldn’t have done better on the free agent market during a thin year for point guards and they are basically devoid of assets to make more trades after giving up nearly every tradable piece on their team save for Landry Fields in the Carmelo Anthony trade. New York would’ve been crazy to let him go, particularly since he will now have the added value of being a large expiring contract during the season that might help them if another team wants to unload a long-term deal to a useful player in a trade.

3 Comments

  • Apr 28, 201112:53 pm
    by Adam

    Reply

    A top-15 point guard on an expiring deal…smells like a trade chip for Chris Paul (if the Hornets make him available).

    • Apr 28, 20114:00 pm
      by rick

      Reply

      Dont rule out Chauncey as a Piston just yet. Knicks need young quality role players more than a 35 yr old PG. And we need cap space more than 2 role players like BG/CV.
      To me, this increases the chance of landing Billups, because now Joe has another potential EXP contract to pursue in his quest to dump contracts.

      • Apr 28, 20114:29 pm
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        Rick, the Knicks are still going to make a play for Dwight Howard, Chris Paul or another big name free agent after next season. I would bet they hold onto Billups and don’t take on any long-term salary.

        After next season, they only players they have salary committed to are Melo, Amar’e and Balkman. Balkman is only like $1.7 million. I would assume they’d re-sign Landry Fields as well, but they might be a force in  free agency again a year from now.

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