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Pistons decline team option on Chauncey Billups

Jun 30, 2014, 6:25 PM EDT

Chauncey Billups, Charlie Villanueva Chauncey Billups, Charlie Villanueva

Chauncey Billups was not a Piston long enough.

The Pistons traded him for Allen Iverson in 2008, quickly sinking themselves from title contention. Though the deal had merit at the time, hindsight says Detroit absolutely should have kept Billups and co. together and let the championship core age and decline naturally.

After resurging with his hometown Nuggets and then bouncing to the Knicks and Clippers, Billups signed with the Pistons last summer. The two-year deal contained a $2.5 million team option that became a no-brainer to decline by today’s deadline.

I’d like to think the Pistons waited until so late in the day to announce it so Billups would remain on team just a little longer. But they couldn’t delay forever.

Keith Langlois of

Billups missed 169 games the last three years. There was no way the Pistons could justify keeping him at $2.5 million.

Brandon Jennings, flaws and all, is substantially better. Will Bynum is an OK enough backup. Even Peyton Siva contributes more now.

Billups can’t even get on the court. There’s no room for him as Detroit’s fourth point guard.

This is quite possibly the end of Billups’ playing career, but he could remain in basketball after retirement.

Billups is bright and balances keeping a level head with with an intense competitiveness. Everyone agrees he’d make a good coach. He doesn’t want to pursue that path, though. He wants a front-office job.

He returned to Detroit to retire and move into management, but the man who signed him, Joe Dumars, is no longer in power.

Is there room for Billups in Stan Van Gundy’s organization?

If there is, I bet Billups would be interested. If Dumars lands a new job elsewhere, Billups could fit there, too.

He’s played for eight teams – the Celtics, Raptors, Nuggets (twice), Magic, Timberwolves, Pistons (twice), Knicks and Clippers. He certainly has connections around the league.

If Billups really wants to keep playing, I bet he could get a veteran-minimum deal somewhere next season. At worst, he’s a great locker-room presence. Someone would value that and hope Billups can make a few spot-up 3-pointers.

But even that leadership role carries less weight when he can’t get on the court. This is probably the end of the line for the 37-year-old Billups.

As a player and executive, Billups is heading into free agency. That could be either very sad or very exciting, depending on which way Billups wants to go.

  1. connorchew - Jun 30, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    Head coach by next year at this rate.

    • 2016olympics - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      “Everyone agrees he’d make a good coach. He doesn’t want to pursue that path, though. He wants a front-office job.”

      • rexgrossman8 - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:25 PM

        He should see if Milwaukee’s hiring.

  2. Hard On For Harden - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    What a crazy career trajectory. Drafted by Boston at 3 as a consolation to losing out on Duncan at 1, then bouncing around before finding new life in Detroit. Larry Brown had him at his peak in the mid 2000s, and I can’t think of a better defensive PG at the time. Sent back to Denver later and takes them to their only WCF appearance with Melo. Fantastic career.

  3. csbanter - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    Billups is not a hall of famer but he came close. It’s time to call it a career though and become a coach,gm if that’s his direction.

  4. mnwildfan15 - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    Flip will offer him a one year deal.

  5. fnc111 - Jun 30, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    Why would he want to live in Detroit with all that money he has? Crazy dude that Billups.

  6. jimsjam33 - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    Stole money from the Clippers and Pistons the last two seasons . He was washed up three years ago . Teams signed him based upon memories from long ago . .

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