As Chauncey Billups prepares to have his name entered into the NBA’s amnesty waiver wire, he has a message for teams considering putting in a bid to secure him for the rest of the season: You’ll regret it.
He wants the freedom of free agency to choose a contender, Billups says. As one of the game’s great leaders, and gentlemen, Billups warns that player will be a distant memory should a team claim him off the amnesty waiver wire.
“I’ m tired of being the good guy,” Billups told Yahoo! Sports by phone on Saturday afternoon. “I’m tired of being viewed as the 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.”
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The Knicks picked up Billups’ $14.2 million option for the 2011-’12 season, but used the new amnesty provision on him so that they could sign free agent Tyson Chandler. Under the new rule, the team that offers to pay the highest portion of his contract can secure him in a blind bidding process. The Knicks will be left to pay for the remainder of the deal.
If Billups goes unclaimed, he can sign as a free agent. The Miami Heat would be a strong possibility for him, among several contenders. Billups, 34, has been one of his generation’s great leaders and players, turning the Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets into major contenders. Billups won a title with Detroit in 2004.
“I just don’t deserve the treatment that I’ve continually gotten,” Billups said. “Historically, these things never happen to the supposed great players and good guys. They continually happen to me, and it gets old. Listen, I feel I’ve been blessed in the game, and I’ve been given back, but these things start to wear on you. But there’s not another guy in history who keeps dealing with this, getting thrown into these things to make the money right. I really believe it’s because people take my kindness and professionalism for weakness. They think I’ll be OK with this. I won’t be OK with this. I’ve saved my money. I may just retire if I don’t get my freedom here.
“I want my freedom. My goal is to control my own destiny. And as you’ve seen in my career, I’ve never been in a position to do that. I know some teams out there are saying, ‘Oh, Chauncey will be great in mentoring’ and I’m tired of that. I’ve got a few good years left to play, and I’m not trying to come in and sit on the bench, or be a mentor. I’m not going to be that guy. I want to go somewhere and win. I want to choose.”