Chauncey Billups is a Denver native happily getting to play out the end of his career in his hometown. Well, either that or the swamps of Jersey (and maybe Brooklyn in a couple of years).
Billups has been swept up in the momentum of the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors — he would be moved to the Nets as the deal is currently constructed. Partially because Anthony is demanding some quality players come East with him, partially because if they are rebuilding the Nuggets will not want Billups’ contract on the books for the next couple years.
Billups is a big boy; he gets the business end of the NBA. But he doesn’t want to leave, he is a veteran with a family established in Denver and told Chris Tomasson of FanHouse (on twitter) that was his big concern.
Billups most worried about possibly moving family if dealt. “I’d be able to play basketball on the moon if they had a flight there.”
Somebody forgot to tell Billups all those moon landings were staged by the government and were done on a soundstage. Still it has to be a tempting thought because in the light gravity of the moon Billups could leap like Blake Griffin.
Billups agent said that if traded the player would seek a buyout of his deal — which sounds a lot more like an agent negotiating for an extension, but it’s out there.
I asked Chauncey Billups if he’d seek buyout right away or summer if dealt to NJ. “That’s something that we’ll talk about later,” he said.
Rose has been out with what seemed like a relative minor, for him at least, ankle injury. The 29-year-old could stick in the league for a while thanks to his reputation and ability to attack the rim to create shots for himself. But the guard is a shell of peak form after years of more serious injuries. This isn’t the career anyone expected for him when he was named the youngest MVP ever in 2011.
The Suns made Mike James – a 27-year-old rookie on a two-way contract – their starting point guard.
Though he eventually ceded the role to Tyler Ulis, James – the only player on a two-way contract to start an NBA game – is still a rotation regular. He’s an aggressive defender and possesses plenty of offensive moves.
The problem: Unless demoted to Phoenix’s minor-league affiliate before then, he’ll max out the 45 allowable NBA days for a two-way player Dec. 6.
We’d still like to get him on the 15-man roster and we’re looking at different ways to do that.
The Suns can unilaterally convert James’ two-contract into a standard one-year minimum deal. Both sides could also negotiate a longer contract.
The bigger issue is clearing a roster spot.
Phoenix has the maximum 15 players with standard contracts with no obvious cuts. Derrick Jones Jr. doesn’t play much, but the 20-year-old’s athleticism creates intriguing upside. Second-rounder Davon Reed is hurt, though teams rarely cut bait so quickly.
The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.
However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.
“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”
This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.
Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.
Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.