Saturday, January 28, 2012
Billups returning home to Denver
By Pedro Moura
Chauncey Billups has played for eight NBA teams over 14 seasons. He's no stranger to the process.
But the new Los Angeles Clipper was still thrown for a loop at the trade deadline last year when he was included in the blockbuster deal that sent him and Carmelo Anthony, among others, to New York from his hometown Denver Nuggets.
He has recovered some since but has not forgotten about the ordeal, which makes the Clippers' Sunday road matchup against the Nuggets particularly interesting -- although Billups emphasized Saturday that he doesn't hold anything against Denver for the deal.
"I don’t have (any) ill feelings toward the organization," Billups said after the Clippers' practice Saturday. "Obviously I’m disappointed about what happened and when it happened, but it is what it is and you move on.
“I’ve been in these kinds of situations so many times, it’s really no big deal. Other than it just being a good matchup, there’s nothing else there really.”
Billups grew up in Denver, went to college just outside the city at Colorado-Boulder and spent two season early in his career playing for the Nuggets. After being traded to the Nuggets in November 2008, he made it known how happy he was to be back.
Then Denver included him in the Anthony deal at the last second, prompting team president Josh Kroenke to issue a public apologyto Billups and his family.
"They mean the world to me, personally, and I know that Chauncey means everything to Denver," Kroenke told reporters. "He is Denver basketball."
Billups, 35, also grew close to Nuggets coach George Karl and other Denver decision-makers during the parts of three seasons he spent there in his second tenure.
“I was very, very disappointed to leave in the fashion that I had to leave, just being thrown into the deal," Billups said. "That’s my hometown – I am from Denver and that’ll never change. I’m going to live there when I’m done playing, and my family’s there.
"I just got kinda caught up in the business of the game."