Tag: Richard Hamilton

billups pistons

Report: Chauncey Billups agrees to two-year deal to return to the Pistons


Four years after being traded away from the team he led to an NBA title back in 2004, Chauncey Billups has agreed to return home.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Chauncey Billups has reached agreement on a two-year contract to return to the Detroit Pistons, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The deal will be worth $5 million-plus for Billups, league sources said.

Billups, 36, hopes to finish his career where it blossomed in the glory years of the Billups-Richard Hamilton-Ben Wallace Pistons of the mid-2000s. Billups will play the part of mentor for young Detroit guard Brandon Knight, and be a rotation guard off the bench for Detroit.

Billups played for the Pistons from 2002 through the middle of the 2008-09 season, before being traded to the Nuggets as part of the ill-fated deal that brought Allen Iverson to Detroit. He was an instrumental piece for the team during its incredible run that saw the Pistons reach the Eastern Conference Finals six straight seasons, which included two trips to the NBA Finals and winning the title in 2004.

The last two seasons Billups was with the Clippers, but injuries limited him to playing in just 42 total games. Billups has played 16 NBA seasons, and holds career averages of 15.4 points and 5.5 assists per game.

Bulls to waive Richard Hamilton

Chicago Bulls shooting guard Hamilton questions a call against the Charlotte Bobcats during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Charlotte

For the second time in three years, an NBA team is paying Richard Hamilton to go away.

The Pistons’ cap obligation to pay Hamilton a $14.5 million buyout over the last two seasons just ended, but now the Bulls will pay Hamilton $1 million not to play for them next season.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

Hamilton’s contract doesn’t become fully guaranteed until July 11, so the Bulls will waive him sometime before that. They already have his replacement, Mike Dunleavy. Waiting could allow Chicago a chance to use Hamilton in a trade, but it’s still likely the team acquiring Hamilton would also buy him out for $1 million rather than pay $5 million to keep him.

In two seasons with the Bulls, the 35-year-old Hamilton struggled to stay healthy, but that’s often what happens with players his age. Hamilton is clearly declining.

The Pistons wanted him to be one of their top players, but he could no longer handle that. The Bulls wanted him to be their starting shooting guard, but he could no longer handle that. Hamilton, 35, is only getting older, so expectations must be even further lowered.

Hamilton scored 11 and 15 points in the last two games of Chicago’s season-ending series loss to the Heat. There are signs he can still help a contender – as long as both sides realize Hamilton can no longer fill a major role.

Rip Hamilton: “I was just dumbfounded at the situation”

Joakim Noah, Richard Hamilton

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was looking for answers. No Derrick Rose, no Luol Deng, no consistent offense, he needed points.

He finally got some Wednesday night from Richard Hamilton (but you can call him Rip) — 15 points in 35 minutes. He was a team best +12 on the night. The veteran who had been buried on the bench came through with a vintage game. It wasn’t enough — the Bulls have gone fishing for the summer after being eliminated by the Heat — but it was a spark they missed much of the series.

A lot of people want to know why we didn’t see more of Rip Hamilton before… and that includes Rip himself, reports Aggrey Sam at CSNChicago.com.

“I have great guys here. That’s what made my job fun. Even though they last two weeks were hard, difficult, my teammates have been great, all the way from Derrick to Luol, to Booz, to Noah, to Jimmy. Everybody was so supportive, I was just like dumbfounded about the situation. But they kept me going. They kept me positive.”

Hamilton has battled injuries for his two years in Chicago and never really got into Thibodeau’s rotation consistently. Even when Rip was saying he was healthy this season Thibodeau was saying he wasn’t and had him glued to the bench. Maybe it was concerns about defense, maybe it was a lot of things.

But with Thibs out of options Hamilton played 21 minutes in the Bulls blowout loss in Game 4 and had 11 points, so that earned him another shot. And in Game 5 he made the most of it.

“It’s crazy because playing 19 straight minutes, I haven’t done that all season. Playing in the fourth quarter, I haven’t done that all season,” Hamilton said. “But it’s just one of those things, where you’ve just got to deal with it. You’ve just got to be able to respond.”

The Bulls have a $5 million option on Hamilton next season, or they can buy him out for $1 million. Bet on the buyout.

But the way he played on Wednesday has me thinking he may get another shot somewhere else next season.

Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner: 76ers should hire Michael Curry

Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner

Though Doug Collins’ departure from the 76ers was framed as his decision, it seemed Philadelphia wasn’t exactly heartbroken to see him go. But the three-year Collins era with the 76ers was a relative success. They made the postseason for consecutive years for the first time since 2008 and 2009 and a playoff series for the first time since 2003.

Even this season, with Andre Iguodala traded and Andrew Bynum out all year, the 76ers had a better record (34-48) than they did the year before Collins’ arrival (27-55).

Would Philadelphia look within for a replacement, hoping to retain the positive aspects of the Collins regime?

Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner hope so. John N. Mitchell of The (Philadelphia) Inquirer:

Jrue Holiday, who has voiced his opinion that the Sixers should consult him during the search, cast his vote for the promotion of associate coach Michael Curry.

“I’ve known him for the last three years,” Holiday said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “He’s somebody I trust, and somebody I’d love as a head coach.”

Evan Turner, who also had his best season in his first campaign as a starter, also endorsed a Curry promotion.

Turner admitted that he and Collins clashed at times. In those moments, according to Turner, he often looked to Curry to smooth the waters.

“He was great because he was calm in certain situations, and that helps,” Turner said. “He never really panicked. That’s something that players need.”

Curry served as the Pistons’ head coach in 2008-09, when the team went 39-43. The Pistons fired him after just that season, and most around Detroit found the move completely reasonable.

The team had internal dysfunction (fueled by an in-season trade for Allen Iverson that would be difficult for any coach to handle, but was handled especially poorly by Curry, who also alienated Richard Hamilton in the process) and questionable schemes at times (I recall a zone/man defense hybrid that players said they didn’t understand). In short, Curry seemed in over his head.

In hindsight, perhaps the Pistons were too tough on him. They haven’t finished better than 25-41 since and have fired John Kuester and Lawrence Frank.

Plus, many coaches get better in their second head-coaching stint. That should especially be true of Curry, who spent just one year as an assistant before becoming Detroit’s head coach.

But assistant coaches often play buffer between players and the head coach, and just because, as Turner said, Curry filled that role well, that doesn’t mean Curry would be a good head coach. He’s young enough (44) and savvy enough that he will get another chance as a head coach, though.

Thankfully for the 76ers, they should be in the best possible position to know whether he deserves that opportunity right now. And it matters a great deal that two of their players, including their All-Star, say yes.

Deron Williams dunks, Nets throttle limping Bulls


Deron Williams made a pair of free throws as the Barclays Center fans chanted “M-V-P!” On the Bulls’ next possession, Williams stole the ball, sprinted down the court and – the same player who didn’t dunk until April – delivered a reverse slam.

More than we’ve realized, this is a different Deron Williams. Frankly, and perhaps more importantly at the moment, these are a different Chicago Bulls.

Williams is full of health of vigor. The Bulls – and, as a result, this series – are not.

Williams had 22 points and seven assists to lead the Nets to a resounding 106-89 Game 1 win over Chicago that wasn’t as close as the final score indicates.  Brooklyn led by more than 15 for the game’s final 28 minutes and by as many as 28 points.

In the last 15 years, teams that win Game 1 by at least 17 points have won 41 of 44 series. As long as Williams keeps playing like this, it’s difficult to envision the Bulls turning this series into the fourth exception.

Including tonight (and excluding the season finale, when he sat out the fourth quarter), Williams is averaging 24.1 points and 8.4 assists per game since March 8. For perspective, only twice has a player averaged those marks for a full season since 1990-91 (LeBron James in 2009-10 and Gary Payton in 1999-00).

Early, Williams’ production was matched by Brook Lopez, who scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half. Over and over again, Williams and Noah got favorable position inside against a team that has a reputation for defending the paint much tougher than it did. But that reputation was built by two players who were limited tonight.

Joakim Noah, played just 13 minutes, and that seemed like 13 minutes too many. Taj Gibson got in foul trouble and had to sit.

Chicago was outscored by 13 points in the 12 minutes neither Noah, who’s losing his battle with plantar fasciitis, nor Gibson played, and that was the difference. When Noah is healthy, the Bulls don’t have to endure so much time without either of their top defenders.

The entire Bulls team didn’t pass Williams and Lopez alone in scoring until midway through the second quarter, as Chicago’s offensive troubles became the predominant story of the game.

For a long time, Carlos Boozer, who finished 25 points, was the Bulls’ only reliable scoring source.

Luol Deng made the Bulls first field goal, and then he didn’t make another shot until the third quarter was mostly over, finishing 3-for-11. Kirk Hinrich, who limped off late in the third quarter and didn’t return, and Richard Hamilton combined to shoot 0-for-5. Marco Belinelli shot 3-for-8, though he at least got to the line.

There’s no doubt Chicago, which scored just 35 first-half points, had offensive problems. But those issues were overstated.

The Bulls still had a higher offensive rating (102.7) than all four teams that played earlier in the day: Knicks (95.9), Nuggets (95.7), Warriors (91.7) and Celtics (95.9).

Nate Robinson scored 17 points on 12 shots, and Jimmy Butler went 5-for-8.

However, Robinson – likely because Tom Thibodeau didn’t trust the point guard’s defense – played just eight minutes before the fourth quarter, and Butler disappeared for nearly the entire first half. Butler’s issues are perhaps correctable, but it’s getting too late for Robinson to endear himself to Thibodeau, even though riding Robinson’s high-variance game might be the Bulls’ best chance as underdogs.

The Nets, on the other hand, never had problems getting going. In addition to Williams and Lopez, Joe Johnson (16 points), Gerald Wallace (14 points), C.J. Watson (14) and Andray Blatche (12 points) all had their moments in supporting roles.

As big as the gap looked between these teams tonight, the series isn’t over, and several Bulls (and two former Bulls who now play for the Nets, C.J. Watson and Keith Bogans) should know that. The last team to win Game 1 by at least 17 points and then lose the series was the Bulls, who beat the Miami Heat by 21 before losing the next four games.

Noah might not be able to give the Bulls much in this series, but they can look to his words after that big win over the Heat two years ago.

“It’s only one game,” Noah said. “There’s a lot of basketball to be played.”