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.