We know one thing about Chauncey Billups next season: He will not be playing for the New York Knicks.
He might not be playing anywhere — he is threatening to retire if a team he doesn’t want to play for claims him on waivers. But what if it is an intriguing team, like the Clippers?
Lots of questions. All we know is the Knicks are officially going to use the amnesty clause on Billups, clearing his $14 million off the books to make room for Tyson Chandler. (The Knicks will trade Ronny Turiaf and make other moves as well to clear out cap space.)
That sends Billups into an unprecedented secondary waiver market. This is set up so waived players just don’t sign with a contender. This market allows teams under the salary cap to bid and pay only a portion of Billups contract — for example the Clippers could bid $2 million and if it is the winning bid they pay only $2 million of his contract (the Knicks pay the rest) and he plays the season for the bidder.
Billups wants no part of playing for a team he doesn’t want to be on, his agent told ESPNNewYork.com.
“But I wouldn’t be surprised if Chauncey retired rather than play for a team he wouldn’t want to play for,” said Andy Miller, agent for the 35-year-old point guard. “He doesn’t need the money, his kids are getting to an age where he wants to be an active participant, and he doesn’t need the frustration and instability he’s constantly dealing with. So he may choose not to play.”
In other words, if the Hornets pick me up I’m out of here. I get why a player of Billups standing — he’s a leader and a finals MVP — wouldn’t like being in limbo like this. Clearly Miller is using a scare tactic to get Billups to free agency. But what if it is the Clippers — an up and coming team — that puts in a bid? Will he only play in Denver? Miami?
Billups has choices. But the winning choice may be family and watching NBA games on the couch.
While the rampant speculation continues about whether the Celtics may or may not trade for a superstar, Danny Ainge is filling out his roster with veterans. Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reports that they’ve agreed to a one-year minimum deal with guard Gerald Green:
Green was originally drafted by the Celtics in 2005 at No. 18 overall, and after bouncing around different teams and overseas in the first few years of his career, he’s carved out a nice niche for himself in the NBA as a scoring guard off the bench. He played 69 games for the Heat last season after two solid years in Phoenix.
The NBA has unveiled its top 100 plays of the 2015-16 season, and there’s no mystery as to what were the top two.
No. 2: Stephen Curry‘s halfcourt buzzer-beater in overtime against the Thunder in Oklahoma City during the season.
No. 1: “The Block” by LeBron James on Andre Iguodala in the final stretch of Game 7 of the Finals.
There’s plenty more, too, and if you have 25 minutes to kill, you can and should watch all of them above.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.