Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Pistons re-sign Billups in 5-year, $60 million deal
DETROIT -- Chauncey Billups bounced around like a basketball
early in his career before finding an NBA home with the Detroit
The All-Star point guard now will extend his career with the
team he led to the past five Eastern Conference finals.
Billups and the Pistons agreed on a five-year, $60 million
contract Tuesday, a person with knowledge of the deal told The
The person, who requested anonymity because of league rules
preventing contract announcements before July 11, said the deal is
worth $46 million guaranteed over four years and the fifth year is
a team option.
Billups was drafted third overall in 1997 by Boston and was with
Toronto, Denver, Orlando and Minnesota within his first four years
in the league.
The former Colorado star signed with the Pistons as a free agent
in 2002, and helped them become one of the league's most consistent
Since 1984, only the Los Angeles Lakers have been more reliable
in the playoffs, with a run that ended with a sixth straight
conference finals appearance in 1989.
Billups was the NBA finals MVP in 2004, when Detroit beat the
Lakers with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, and he helped the
Pistons win three games in the 2005 finals against San Antonio.
The 30-year-old Billups became an unrestricted free agent last
month after opting out of the last year of a six-year contract, and
both he and the team expected to reach a deal to keep him in
The two-time All-Star had three coaches -- Rick Carlisle, Larry
Brown and Flip Saunders -- in Detroit who helped him become one of
the NBA's top point guards. Billups averaged 17 points, 7.2 assists
and two turnovers last season and 14.5 points and 5.3 assists over
his nine-year career.
Billups was off his game in each of the past two conference
finals, leading to Detroit's elimination. He averaged 15.3 points,
3.5 assists and 3.8 turnovers, and uncharacteristically struggled
in clutch situations against Cleveland this year -- failing to live
up to his nickname, Mr. Big Shot.
But the Pistons wouldn't have reached the NBA's final four in
each of the past five seasons without Billups, whose unique ability
to run the team was underscored when he was sidelined by injuries
The Pistons seem to have a chance to remain contenders in the
Eastern Conference by bringing back Billups, who forms one of the
NBA's top backcourts with Richard Hamilton. Rasheed Wallace,
Tayshaun Prince and Antonio McDyess, who already chose to return
next season, give Detroit a strong frontcourt.
Chris Webber, who ended the season as Detroit's starting center,
is an unrestricted free agent.
The Pistons would like to trade guard Flip Murray and center
Nazr Mohammed, both signed last year as free agents, this offseason
and should have an opportunity to add a solid veteran with the
midlevel exception that can pay a player more than $5 million a
Detroit drafted guards Rodney Stuckey and Arron Afflalo last
week in the first round, adding depth after dealing Carlos Delfino
and expecting Lindsey Hunter to retire or play a limited role on