Chauncey Billups speaks for a lot of NBA veterans.
These are guys who have been around because they can play — and with that comes some nice paydays. Billups is set to make $14.2 million next season in the last year of his deal.
He wants to get paid. He wants to play. But he told Alan Hahn of Newsday that he sees the big picture and wants to make sure the guys just coming into the league have a chance to get paid like this in a decade, too.
“I don’t want to lose that money,” Billups told Newsday by telephone from his home in suburban Denver. “Nobody wants to lose the biggest payday they are ever going to get. I’m never going to get another payday like that again.
“However, I’ve got to look at the big picture and say, ‘Is it about me, selfishly?’ Say, ‘Just strike a deal, I don’t care what it is, because I just want to get my money?’ Or do I care about all these young guys who have 10 to 15 years to play?”
Billups’ second year in the league was the last lockout, and he saw veterans take a hit for guys like him. Now he’s just trying to pay it forward. Which is why the union is not going to be so simple to decertify or for the owners to break — there are strong guys like Billups in there who are doing this on principle.