Chauncey Billups says if traded he will become free agent next summer

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Chauncey Billups may have thrown a wrench into Denver’s trade plans for Carmelo Anthony.

The Nuggets want to deal with Nets — where they can get Derrick Favors and some first-round draft picks — but Anthony’s agent has pushed for getting Chauncey Billups and other players traded to New Jersey with him because Anthony doesn’t want to go to a rebuilding team.

Except, Billups doesn’t want to leave Denver.

That’s what his agent told Chris Tomasson of FanHouse.

“I’ve been in constant contact with Masai (Ujiri, the Nuggets executive vice president of basketball operations) and made it clear that Chauncey’s desire is to remain a Nugget for the rest of his playing career and thereafter,” Billups’ agent, Andy Miller, said by phone Saturday to FanHouse. “If any of these rumors were to come to fruition, Chauncey and I would definitely want to maintain our flexibility and explore our free agency as soon as possible.”

Billups is a Denver native. He is set to make $14.2 million next season, however that can be bought out for $3.7 million at the end of this season. There is a chance Billups could be bought out right after any trade this season, although that seems a long shot.

The comments by Miller would have to give New Jersey (or any team looking to trade for Billups) pause. That pause could hurt the chances of the Nets to complete any three-team deal, although it does not preclude it. Meanwhile, Knicks executives are just smiling.

Billups took the high road with his comments.

“Everybody knows what I want and my intentions,” Billups, 34, said of wanting to finish his career with the Nuggets. “I’ve been clear about that. But I also know this is professional sports and this is a business. So I hope that I’m here. Everybody knows that. But, if I’m not, I’m going to do the best I can, whatever happens.”

Are Bulls and Dwyane Wade moving toward a buyout?

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About a month ago, the Bulls said they hadn’t discussed a buyout with Dwyane Wade.

Have the two sides progressed since?

Nick Friedell of ESPN:

Dwyane Wade isn’t long for the organization’s future and is expected to reach a buyout agreement at some point in the next few months.

Expected by whom?

People with direct knowledge of momentum toward a buyout?

Or everyone who can see that a 35-year-old earning $23.8 million fits poorly on a rebuilding team?

For the Bulls to now drop their biggest name and a large expiring contract that could prove useful in trades should require Wade surrendering a large portion of his salary. He doesn’t sound like someone inclined to do that yet.

A few months is a long time. As long as Wade gets bought out by March 1, he could join another team’s playoff roster. It’d surprise nobody if he gets bought out after the February trade deadline, which we already knew. I don’t see strong indication of something more imminent.

LeBron James’ camp already shooting down leaving-Cavaliers rumor

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LeBron James has done a terrible job shooting down rumors about him leaving the Cavaliers

Except this one from Chris Sheridan, who cited a source saying LeBron would “100 percent” leave Cleveland next summer due to a rift with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Sheridan’s source saying LeBron is leaving doesn’t make that true. But other anonymous sources denying it doesn’t make the denials true, either.

New Orleans Saints fire Pelicans’ team physician

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The Pelicans have been crushed by injuries the last few years.

Why? That’s an incredibly complex question.

But the New Orleans Saints – who share an owner (Tom Benson), a front-office leader (Mickey Loomis) and other staff with the Pelicans – have found culprits for their own injury woes.

Mike Triplett of ESPN:

The Saints have fired team orthopedists Deryk Jones and Misty Suri, per source, after it was discovered that CB Delvin Breaux has a fractured fibula and will require surgery expected to sidelined him for 4-6 weeks. Breaux was originally diagnosed with a contusion

Suri is a Pelicans team physician.

Scott Kushner of The Advocate:

Fairly or not, Suri – after the Saints deemed him unacceptable – will be in the crosshairs if he keeps his job with the the Pelicans and their injury woes continue.

Rumor: LeBron James ‘100 percent’ leaving Cavaliers next summer

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Chris Sheridan was ahead of the crowd in 2014, reporting LeBron James would likely leave the Heat for the Cavaliers – which obviously happened.

But Sheridan called it a “90 percent chance,” a small – but large enough – hedge. He also said LeBron would announce the decision on LeBron’s personal website. Of course, LeBron revealed his choice in a Sports Illustrated essay.

So, maybe Sheridan knows what he’s talking about. Maybe he doesn’t.

But the longtime NBA writer just fanned the flames of the already hot LeBron-leaving-Cleveland rumors.

Sheridan:

Of course, the denials came quickly.

There have already been plenty of warning signs about LeBron’s relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, which didn’t restart in a great place.

It’s entirely believable LeBron would leave Cleveland, in large part due to Gilbert.

But it’s also fun to speculate about that salacious storyline.

Maybe Sheridan or his source got carried away for that very reason. Or maybe they know something.

Neither possibility should be discounted.