Chauncey Billups confirmed that he won’t be returning to the hardwood next season, telling Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports that he’s retiring after 17 seasons in the NBA. The Pistons turned down a team option earlier this summer that would have paid the 37 year old $2.5MM to return to Detroit. He worked out for the Cavs in August, and although he was reportedly interested in teaming up with LeBron James in Cleveland, the veteran point guard has decided to hang up his jersey and move on from playing in the NBA.
While Billups acknowledged that he still had “a couple opportunities to play” if he had opted not to retire, the 2004 Finals MVP said he couldn’t ignore his deteriorating health that has limited him to appearing in only 49 games over the past three seasons. “It’s just time. I know when it’s time,” Billups said. “My mind and my desire is still strong. I just can’t ignore the fact that I haven’t been healthy for three years. I can try again and get to a point where I think I can go, but I just can’t sustain. Me not being able to play the way that I can play, that’s when you kind of know it’s that time.”
Billups expressed interest in taking a front office role at some point, but he told Spears nothing is imminent for the time being. The Timberwolves were reportedly likely to target Billups earlier this summer for an assistant coaching role, but the former Pistons stud indicated he’d be more interested in taking a television position or a job in a front office.
Over his career, Billups averaged 15.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per night in 1043 games. He shot 41.5% from the floor and an impressive 38.7% from beyond the arc. The former third overall pick took home the NBA championship with the Pistons in 2004 and appeared in five All-Star games. According to Basketball-Reference.com, Billups earned $107,227,720 during his time in the NBA, having spent time with seven different clubs.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.