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MavsFanFinley
07-17-2002, 04:02 PM
Pistons sign free agent G Chauncey Billups
July 17, 2002

AUBURN HILLS, MICHIGAN (TICKER) -- Guard Chauncey Billups is headed to his sixth team in as many years.

The Detroit Pistons on Wednesday signed the well-traveled Billups, who averaged 11.9 points and a career-high 5.5 assists for the Minnesota Timberwolves last season, to a multi-year contract.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Coming off their first division title in 12 years, the Pistons are one of the few teams with room under the salary cap. Like every team, they also have a mid-level exception, which is estimated at $4.7 million.

"We are very excited to have acquired Chauncey Billups," said Pistons president of basketball of operations Joe Dumars. "The fact that Chauncey chose Detroit as his home validates our feeling that this organization is headed in the right direction. We feel he is a player that can come in and make an immediate impact on our team."

Teams have been able to negotiate with free agents since July 1 and the 25-year-old Billups was a hot commodity coming off the best season of his five-year career.

But Minnesota general manager Kevin McHale is seeking to re-sign restricted free agent center Rasho Nesterovic after he decided not to make a long-term commitment to Billups.

Billups played in all 82 games for Minnesota and replaced injured starter Terrell Brandon at point guard midway through the 2001-02 season. His stock rose when he averaged 22 points in three playoff games.

"I wanted to go somewhere where I had a chance to start," Billups said. "Knowing that Terrell was going to be healthy in Minnesota and I wasn't really going to have a strong chance to start because he's the starter, he's the guy, he's making a lot of money. I wanted to go somewhere where I just had a chance."

The chance will come in Detroit, where Pistons coach Rick Carlisle made no secret of his intention to start Billups at point guard ahead of Chucky Atkins.

"We signed him to come in here and be our starter. I make no bones about that," Carlisle said. "I talked to Chucky about it last week in person. Chucky understands the situation. This is going to be a great situation for him, too, because Chauncey's size is going to allow him and Chucky to play together some."

Despite winning 50 games last season, the Pistons lacked consistency at point guard, where they used a tandem of Atkins and Damon Jones. They also struggled on offense in the playoffs, scoring 85 points or less in eight of 10 games.

Billups helps on both counts. The 6-3 combo guard has averaged 11.3 points and 4.2 assists in 297 career games, primarily as a reserve.

Boston drafted Billups third overall in 1997 but traded him to Toronto midway through his rookie season. He was dealt to Denver in the offseason and spent 1 1/2 seasons with the Nuggets before being traded to Orlando, for whom he never played. He became a free agent after the 1999-2000 season and signed with Minnesota.

Rhylan
07-18-2002, 09:54 AM
It's nice we'll only have to worry about him bending us over for a 24-point quarter twice a year, now. i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif

MavKikiNYC
07-18-2002, 10:02 AM
Here's hoping that McInnis migrates eastward too...