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 Priority # 1: Keep Billups 
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Play by Play Announcer - Al Michaels

Joined: April 27th, 2005, 3:26 pm
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Post Priority # 1: Keep Billups
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MICHAEL ROSENBERG: Priority 1: Keep Billups
Pistons can't afford to lose point guard

December 15, 2006

FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

Chauncey Billups is not Ben Wallace. Let's face it: If Chauncey Billups were Ben Wallace, that would mean the Pistons played only four guys for most of this decade, and that would be pretty dumb, although it would explain last season's playoffs.

What I mean here, of course, is that Billups is not like Wallace. He is different physically, emotionally and in the eyes of the Pistons. Add it up, and you end up with a large contract extension this summer, when Billups can become a free agent.

There are rumors, probably legitimate, about Milwaukee's interest in Billups. But if the money is equal, Billups is likely to stay, and the Pistons should make sure the money is equal.

"I'm not going to cheat myself just to stay," Billups said. "This is going to be my last piece of the pie. I want what's fair."

Maybe that makes you nervous, but what is he supposed to say? Max contract? Blecch! Who needs it? Billups is just below the LeBron/Wade stratosphere -- he can't assume the Pistons will open the vault for him. He needs competition in the market to make sure he gets fair value.

But there are several reasons why this should end with a smiles-all-around news conference at the Palace in July.

Wallace was determined to go to the highest bidder, not because he has an emeralds-and-rubies fetish, but because he wanted affirmation of his status as a star. He thought he could have the same success elsewhere that he had in Detroit.

Billups seems more appreciative of what he has here.

"I know when we are playing and doing what we gotta do, I don't think there is (anybody) better than us in the East, period," Billups said. "I love our chances this year."

Billups admits he was surprised Wallace left, "but he wasn't all-the-way happy with how things were shaking out here." Wallace was good for a few world-class grumbles per season: about the offense, usually, or his team's effort. And, privately, Wallace was even more likely to stew.

Billups is all-the-way happy. When he gets away from the TV cameras and reporters, he is even more positive than he is publicly.

"I know the culture of our locker room," he said. "I know a lot of things that you can't just watch the TV and see. I see them every single day. I feel great about our team."

OK, so for $80 million, Billups could probably learn to feel great about another team. But this brings us to the big reason Billups likely will return: The Pistons need him.

The Pistons knew they could plug Nazr Mohammed into Wallace's spot and credibly call themselves contenders. They are now the most attractive sight on the landscape of the Eastern Conference -- which, admittedly is littered with Bazooka wrappers and empty Yoo-hoo bottles. If the playoffs began tomorrow, the Pistons would be the favorites in the East.

But if Billups leaves, forget it. The title aspirations disappear.

Pistons boss Joe Dumars is wary of giving big money to aging players, but Billups is different from Wallace in that respect, too.

Wallace was on the decline -- and as an undersized player who relies on athleticism, he is unlikely to dominate into his mid-30s. Billups is at the peak of his game -- and because he is big and skilled for his position, he should be a major force for several more years.

The Pistons can't afford to lose Billups, and he is too smart to let his pride carry him to another city. This makes too much sense for both sides. Wallace always will be remembered as a Piston, but Billups should retire as one.


Good article. I personally love Billups and think we should match any offer to keep him on the team.

Thoughts??

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Regards,

Tim

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December 15th, 2006, 9:36 am
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I can't stand Chauncy personally... He doesn't play any D, and his "big shot" has seemingly up and left... I don't trust him in the clutch anymore, and his offensive skills, IMO are based more on his size than anything... I would rather trade him this year... or see who's available in FA next year...


December 15th, 2006, 1:00 pm
Play by Play Announcer - Al Michaels

Joined: April 27th, 2005, 3:26 pm
Posts: 1775
Post 
wjb wrote:

Quote:
I can't stand Chauncy personally... He doesn't play any D, and his "big shot" has seemingly up and left... I don't trust him in the clutch anymore, and his offensive skills, IMO are based more on his size than anything... I would rather trade him this year... or see who's available in FA next year...


Can't say I completely agree w/ you, wjb. Granted, while Chauncey is not the best defender, he knows his role and is usually always in proper defensive position, but he does get beat off the dribble alot. On the flip side, he is a good help defender and hustles. He can still hit the big shot and still gets to the line on a consistent basis nightly and hits more than 90% of his freethrows. He is a teamleader, consumate pro, and great teammate. His assist to turnover ratio is only bested by Nash. He sets the tone on offensive and is a coach on the floor. True, his size does help him alot, but should we really think negative towards his skills because of that? The man is built like a linebacker and uses that to his advantage. He keeps himself in great shape and is hardly ever injured. I personally think he is worth the money. Of course, I thought Ben was, too :oops:

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Tim

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December 15th, 2006, 2:32 pm
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