Chauncey Billups may not be the ideal point guard for a Mike D’Antoni offense, but he’s the best point the Knicks has had in a long time.
So the Newsday report that the team plans on picking up the $14.2 million extension for Billups next season is not a surprise. (The Knicks could buy him out of that deal for $3.5 million.)
What is a surprise is that they may keep him on even longer and extend the deal of the 35-year-old.
The thinking is that Billups could be exactly what they need as a leader to direct the offense with star players Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. And if they can sign him to a reasonable contract extension, it would allow the team to have a decent amount of money left over to make upgrades in other areas of the roster via free agency….
Until Billups arrived, the belief was that the Knicks would use their cap space in 2012 to target a star point guard such as Chris Paul or, if he doesn’t sign an extension with the Nets, Deron Williams. But the belief within the Knicks’ organization is that Billups, who keeps himself in terrific condition, still can play at a high level well into his late 30s, like Jason Kidd and Steve Nash. Considering that Anthony (26) and Stoudemire (27) are in their prime years with four years left on their respective contracts, the Knicks would be looking to get the most out of Billups until he is 38.
The problem is the Knicks really have no idea how much cap space they will have in 2012 because nobody knows what the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will look like. Paul and D-Will may be a better fit and better players, but if the Knicks can’t sign them, it’s moot. Meanwhile, Billups has proven a quality asset.
Essentially, a point guard in the hand is worth two in the market.