Chauncey Billups has been a star, a role player and a buried bench player. He’s played for winners and losers. He’s been young and old.
He’s seen it all, and as one of the NBA’s smartest players, he’s learned it all.
So, he knows where his career is headed.
Billups, who recently had knee surgery, is pondering retirement.
“It all kind of depends how this feels and how things are with the knee,” he said. “If the knee is fine, then sure, absolutely, I would like to come back. If it’s not, I don’t want to come back and do this. It’s tough to do this, especially on a team when we’re not a winning team at this stage.”
Billups said he hopes to return but he has to “just kind of see.”
“I’m not gonna rush back. I do just want to get it better. But I hope so,” he said, when asked if the objective is to return this year.
If Billups plays again this season, the Pistons can use his performances to assess whether or not to pick up his team option of $2.5 million for next year.
But if his season is over — what I suspect is the most likely scenario — they’d be crazy to keep him. In the last three seasons, he’s barely been healthy enough to play, missing 146 of 207 games and counting.
Billups presumably returned to Detroit, where he spent his best years, for a fond farewell and a chance to slide into the front office. He’s repeatedly said he wants to become a general manager.
He’s not ready for that job, but if he’s ready for retirement, the Pistons, or another team, would do well to offer him a lower-level management position.