To say Chauncey Billups is upset is to say the Sun is hot. Both are true, but neither fully captures the magnitude of the reality.
The New York Knicks used the amnesty clause to waive Chauncey Billups yesterday as part of their sign-and-trade to acquire Tyson Chandler. Now Billups goes through a waiver process through which teams under the cap can bid for his services. And if you think the normally mild-mannered, professional Billups is going to sit back and accept this fate, you've got another thing comin'.
“I’m tired of being the glue guy,” Billups told Yahoo! Sports by phone on Saturday afternoon. “I’m tired of being viewed as the good guy. After a while, you just kind of get taken advantage of in these situations. I’ve been known as a leader, and I am a leader, but a leader can be as disruptive as he can be productive, especially when you carry a strong voice and people rally around you. This is about me now. This is about me, and teams should know that right now.”
[...] people take my kindness and professionalism for weakness. They think I’ll be OK with this. I won’t be OK with this.
That is as cut-and-dry a statement as you'll find. The message to teams is clear: if you claim me, I will make your lives a living hell.
From Chauncey's perspective, it makes sense. Wherever he lands will be his 8th stop in what will be his 15th season. Aside from the Detroit Pistons, Billups hasn't had more than two full seasons anywhere. He finally found what was shaping up to be a pretty good situation in New York and they dumped him to create a damn fine front court and a damn crappy back court. At 35 years old, who wants to go sit in Charlotte or Minnesota and teach young guards how to play the game?
But the league's perspective is much different. The league will say this is part of the new collective bargaining agreement. It's an agreement the players accepted. And as sorry as everyone is for those who get waived, you can't make a mockery of the process by publicly being a jerk and scaring off potential suitors.
So both sides have a fair point. The question now is, do teams back off, or do they claim him and hope he calms down? Does a hard-line owner like Dan Gilbert bring Billups to Cleveland to set up the fight and prove a very public point? Or will Billups just decide to retire and leave the whole process behind?
This isn't a great situation at all, but it fits the buffoonery that has dominated the NBA since July 1. Chauncey Billups has done enough over his career to deserve better, but life isn't about people getting what they deserve. That is reserved for TV and the movies. And as surreal as the NBA is at the moment, neither Oscar winner nor complete hack could script a scenario that plays out quite like this.
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