Pistons, Billups agree to two-year deal
DETROIT — Chauncey Billups wanted to stay with the Detroit Pistons for the rest of his career.
Now, the team that traded him away wants him back.
Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars confirmed Thursday morning that Billups and the team have agreed to terms on a contract.
Billups is getting a two-year deal, the first season is guaranteed, for $2.5 million each year.
“I never wanted to leave here. Everyone knows that,” he said on Jan. 26, 2011, after making a flurry of 3-pointers late in a game to help Denver win in Detroit. “I wanted to retire here.”
He’s back to help the Pistons as a pass-first point guard who can make 3-point shots. And, he will be expected to mentor 21-year-old Brandon Knight and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the No. 8 overall pick in the draft, in the backcourt and off the court.
Detroit dealt Billups to Denver on Nov. 3, 2008, when the franchise decided its championship-winning window had closed. The Pistons are almost 100 games under .500 since making the unpopular and unsuccessful move. The Pistons traded Billups in part to speed the development of Rodney Stuckey, to see if Allen Iverson could provide a spark while his contract expired and to clear salary-cap space for the future.
“It was just a season of inevitable change and inevitable pain,” Dumars said after the 2008-09 season ended by getting swept in the first round by the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers. “Although it was a tough year, we also knew it was a necessary process if you’re trying to position yourself to remain relevant.”
Stuckey, who is still with the team, never became a dependable point guard. The millions spent in the summer of 2009 on free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva turned out to be wasted. The Pistons traded Gordon last summer, basically to get his contract off the books, to Charlotte for a first-round pick. Detroit could still deal Villanueva, who is entering the last year of his deal, to a team that might want to take on his expiring contract later this summer or during the upcoming season.
The Pistons, 148-244 since trading Billups, are in a four-year postseason drought that is their longest since missing six straight from 1978 through 1983.
Billups, a five-time All-Star, turns 37 in September.
He tore his left Achilles tendon during the 2011-12 season, when he was limited to 20 games with the Los Angeles Clippers, and he bounced back last season to play 22 games for them.
Billups has averaged 15.4 points — making 42 percent of his 3-pointers — and 5.5 assists during his career.
Boston drafted him out of Colorado with the No. 3 pick in the 1997 draft. He went on to make rosters in Toronto, Denver, Orlando, Minnesota, Detroit, New York and the Clippers.