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Friday, December 9, 2011
Will Chauncey Billups be in play for Heat?

By Tom Haberstroh

Chauncey Billups
Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images
How Chauncey Billups and other amnesty candidates could potentially become available to the Heat.

One of the biggest questions circling the Miami Heat these days is whether they will be able to make a play for players cut via the amnesty rule.

Can Baron Davis, Chauncey Billups, Richard Jefferson, and other amnesty candidates be possibilities to join the Heat if they are indeed released by their respective teams?

It's a great question. The short answer: it's possible, but chances are slim. The long answer is written by our CBA guru Larry Coon at TrueHoop, who explains what we know about the amnesty rule at this point [bolded text mine]:

Lots of stuff to chew on for the Heat here. What's clear is that the Heat will closely monitor the secondary waiver process for potential amnesty cuts like point guards Davis and Billups. If teams under the cap offer a bid, then the only way the Heat can acquire the player is by trading for him, but only after the presumed 30-day window expires.

So, one possible scenario: The Knicks use their amnesty provision on Billups and the Nuggets submit a winning bid. The Nuggets could then trade Billups after 30 days,  if they were so inclined, to the Heat sometime in January.

But that assumes that the Heat could entice the Nuggets, or whichever team claims him, with a trade offer. Would a possibly healthy Mike Miller become trade bait? Would the Heat actually dangle Udonis Haslem if it meant a legitimate starting point guard was on the way? Those could become important questions.

There's also a chance that agents will scare off potential bidders in order to secure an appealing destination in free agency. Billups' agent has already reportedly growled that his client won't be exactly thrilled to play for a team not of his choice. Whether that growling actually is effective or not is yet to be seen. Still, it's unlikely that Billups or any other amnestied players fall into the Heat's lap.