Chauncey Billups, reportedly scheduled to be fired by the New York Knicks to clear salary-cap room for Tyson Chandler, will consider retiring from the NBA if he is claimed off waivers by a team he deems undesirable, according to his agent.
Acting under terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, the Knicks were preparing to apply the one-time amnesty clause to Billups' contract, shedding his $14.2 million wage from their payroll and landing him on the league's waiver wire.
"But I wouldn't be surprised if Chauncey retired rather than play for a team he wouldn't want to play for," said Andy Miller, agent for the 35-year-old point guard. "He doesn't need the money, his kids are getting to an age where he wants to be an active participant, and he doesn't need the frustration and instability he's constantly dealing with. So he may choose not to play."
Miller said his client raised the possibility of retirement after news broke that the Knicks were close to an agreement with Chandler, and that the 14-year veteran playmaker would need to be sacrificed to make the deal possible. Billups didn't want to leave Denver last February when he was shipped to New York in the Carmelo Anthony trade.
"Chauncey's pissed off, but he's not pissed at the Knicks," Miller said. "He understands it's a business and they have to do what they have to do.
"But he's in a very frustrated state of mind because this has happened to him twice now. The way the league is structured, if you're a hot name and teams have interest in you, you have the ability to manufacture mass hysteria, and guys like Chauncey who put in years of high-level leadership, production, and service get lost."
Billups might not be the only Knick on the way out with Chandler coming on board. Sources told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher that the team is offering forward Ronny Turiaf and $3 million to teams with cap space to clear payroll.
Miller said numerous teams have expressed interest in Billups, but that he hasn't engaged the five-time All-Star in conversation about them.
"It would be a complete waste of time right now," Miller said, "because it's been a very trying time for Chauncey.
"He enjoyed the city life in New York and had no gripes about his time there. But if he's picked up in a situation he doesn't want, maybe he retires, or he retires for one year, I don't know. If he can't choose his destiny and he's only there for 66 games, I think he'd much rather stay at home until the season is over."
Ian O'Connor is the author of "The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter." Sunday Morning With Ian O'Connor can be heard every Sunday, 9-11 a.m., on ESPN New York 1050.