Despite issues with their trade with the Hornets for superstar Chris Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers just picked up a proven veteran point guard in Chauncey Billups, who was recently waived by the New York Knicks via the new amnesty clause.
According to ESPN, the NBA’s 30 teams were notified shortly after 6 p.m. ET on Monday (December 12) that the Clippers had lodged the winning waiver bid for Billups.
A source close to the deal told the network the Clippers’ winning bid to land Billups in the waiver auction was just over $2 million, meaning that the Knicks will still have to pay out the remaining balance of nearly $12 million from Billups’ $14.2 million salary this season.
If a team didn’t claim the 35-year-old point guard, then he would’ve become an unrestricted free agent.
Additionally, ESPN says that the Clippers ignored recent threats by Billups and his agent Andy Miller that he planned to retire if he was claimed by a team he didn’t want to join.
However, Chauncey gives the Clips a veteran boost, along with the recent signing of Caron Butler to a three-year deal worth $24 million.
“Chauncey is a warrior. He’s a player. This is a similar situation — we had this in the best year we had here — with Sam Cassell. He got traded away from a place he was really comfortable in,” Clippers general manager Neil Olshey said. “All we said was, ‘Come in with an open mind. Give us a chance. Look at our culture, look at who we were.’ The next year Sam becomes the Messiah, got us to the second round of the playoffs, signed a two-year deal for $14 million dollars and finished his career. It’s not unlike that.
“There’s going to be some work to do,” Olshey continued. “I think Chauncey would’ve liked to control the process, but unfortunately, we have to do what’s best for our team. I think once he gets here and sees the resources we have, meets the guys and sees what kind of team we have, hopefully we can do the same thing with him as we were able to do with Sam and Marcus Camby.”
Billups threatened to retire if he was not allowed to pass through waivers and become an unrestricted free agent. This remains to be seen. Other teams also rumored to make bids were the Charlotte Bobcats and the New Jersey Nets.