Pistons reportedly interested in Chauncey Billups as a backup, but would Billups be interested in them?
Chauncey Billups looking to play 2 more years. Several clubs interested in him as backup, which he understands. Detroit has done interest
Billups will turn 37 during the season and dealt with a myriad of injuries last season, including coming back from a torn Achilles tendon, limiting him to just 22 games for the Clippers. There wasn’t much for Billups to do there, other than shoot threes (he hit a reasonable 37 percent of them), with Chris Paul handling all of the Point God responsibilities. I think the immediate reaction from Pistons fans seeing Billups, a beloved former Pistons and one of the most respected players in the NBA, back on a modest contract, serving a mentoring role to Brandon Knight, would be unbelievably positive. There is a small issue though — Broussard’s report indicates the Pistons are interested in him, but it remains to be seen how interested he is in the Pistons.
“If he had drafted either Melo or Bosh, I think maybe that whole team would still be together,’’ Billups said. “We probably would have more championships down the road. But this is the NBA and things happen. But, of course, I always think about that.’’
That’s not necessarily a jab at the front office, but Billups did at one time harbor some ill-will toward Joe Dumars. From Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News in December 2012:
“Me and Joe at one time were really tight. I can’t honestly tell you it’s like that,” Billups said. “The trade, the way it was handled, led to the strain in the relationship. It’s cool now, though. We’ve talked about it now.”
“Joe and I, we’re cool. We text from time to time. I had dinner with Jordan (Dumars, Joe’s son) a couple months ago in L.A. We speak, we text.”
Time had to heal an old wound, considering Billups long admired Dumars and wanted to follow in Dumars’ footsteps as a player-turned-executive.
“He and I did have a long, long conversation,” Dumars said. “It was good to have. From that point on, that’s when we’ve gotten back to checking on each other and seeing how we were.”
I’m glad that Dumars and Billups seem to have, according to that report, mended their relationship some. But bad feelings from how Dumars broke up that team have been alluded to before. Rip Hamilton made it clear in one of his return trips as a Bull that he was not close with Dumars anymore. Tayshaun Prince didn’t say anything inflammatory upon leaving, but he did state that he was surprised by the trade based on what the Pistons front office had told him about his role when he re-signed. I think there’s a good amount of evidence that that very close-knit starting five had some resentment toward Dumars when they made their exits from Detroit.
But there’s also good evidence that some have moved past the anger about how it all ended. Ben Wallace returned for three seasons to finish his career (unless he wants one more year in a mentor role too … I’m sure he’s in playing shape). Rasheed Wallace has been linked to an assistant coaching job. And, at one time as Goodwill noted above, Billups would frequently make it known that he wanted to move into the front office of a team after his playing career ends with Dumars as the example he wanted to follow. Perhaps Billups can help share his wisdom with Detroit’s young guards and Dumars can extend an olive branch for the past hurt feelings by giving Billups the opportunity to start getting acclimated to a management role.
All of that is a long-winded way of saying it would be awesome to have you back in any capacity, Mr. Billups.
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