Chauncey Billups spoke to The Detroit Free Press’s Michael Rosenberg before his game against Cleveland last night. Chauncey had plenty of good things to say about Detroit as well as his teammates but after he opened up I can’t help but feel for him.
“It was the hardest two or three hours that I’ve had in a long, long time in my life,” Billups said. “We just couldn’t believe that it’s over. It’s over. That’s the thing that’s so tough about trades. No matter what happens, it’s over. So those two or three hours were crazy.” Billups talking about what happened when Rip and Tayshaun heard the news of the trade.
Most interesting is the fact that Rip Hamilton signed his extension BEFORE the trade went down, and Chauncey believes (as do most of us) that Richard may not have been so quick to sign the extension had he known the trade was going down.
“What if Hamilton had known that Billups was going to be traded? The normally affable Hamilton was so upset by the trade that he didn’t talk to the media for several days. Would Rip have signed his contract extension without Chauncey on the roster? Did the Pistons wait until the contract was signed before making the deal?
“If Rip would have knew that this deal was going on, I just don’t know that he would have signed that extension,” Billups said. “It was kind of funny to me that they announced this trade the same day that he signed. I really don’t know. … It just seemed weird to me. He signed that extension three days before the trade. … I think it might have been a little different if all this was exposed early.”
It’s not like we all didn’t know Sheed had problems with Flip, but Chauncey thinks the tension between the coach and players cost the team a Championship.
“’Sheed was just vocal and visual about his (frustration),” Billups said. “I can’t say it was all Rasheed or it was only Rasheed. But even with that, I just still feel like that should have never come into play. I feel like no matter what the coach is doing, how you feel or whatever, you can’t cheat your teammates and not give maximum effort because you’re mad at the coach.
“I think that cost us at least one championship.”
Really? Which one?
“At least one,” he said.
Billups also said “don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming anybody.” He didn’t take sides and didn’t really defend Saunders. His point was that the Pistons let their differences with their coach get in the way of their ultimate goal.
“I don’t point fingers,” he said. “I just think problems, and maybe disbelief in Flip on a player or two’s behalf, cost us in some different series that I thought, had we been locked in, we could have won.”
I implore you to head over to The Free Press and read the whole piece. I know we all thought these things, but Chauncey telling us makes it a bit different.