Was Dumars' Handling of Billups, Rip Shady?


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↵Let's get this straight: Chauncey Billups is the consummate professional. He refused to ever develop an ego in Detroit, even when he was the closest that team had to a traditional star. When dealt to Denever, Billups did nothing less than transform that squad into a serious playoff threat, as opposed to a bunch of crazy guys who may or may not have bullets in their guns. ↵
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↵But, judging from the comments Billups made upon his return to Detroit, it seems like Dumars might have taken advantage of, or at least leveraged, some of that ineffably good guy-ness. From the Detroit Free Press:
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↵⇥When the Pistons were wooing Billups [in the summer of '07], they talked about putting down roots in the community. Billups won the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2008 for his charity work. His Porter-Billups Leadership Academy helps prepare at-risk kids in his hometown of Denver for college, and he planned to extend the academy to Detroit. He also ran a charity golf tournament in Michigan and wanted to invest his millions in the area, like former Pistons guards Dave Bing and Joe Dumars. ↵⇥
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↵⇥“Those were all my intentions when I signed back with Detroit -- not just the basketball thing, me retiring a Piston, but me really sinking my two feet into everything that Detroit is going through,” Billups said. “Detroit has obviously been through some tough times. I think at some point here it is going to turn around. I was trying to be part of that development." ↵
↵I don't seriously suspect that Dumars sought out to take advantage of Billups's commitment to the city of Detroit. But in the same way that players would prefer to play in or near their hometown, it definitely helped him get the PG to re-sign. Similarly, would Rip Hamilton -- who, after leading the Iverson-less Pistons to big wins over Orlando and Boston, has secured his rightful starting spot and finally become that team's de facto leader -- have inked an extension if he knew blood brother Billups was on the way out? Chauncey's not so sure: ↵
↵⇥“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.” ↵
↵There's a fine line between nefarious and cold, hard business. Dumars gets the benefit of the doubt because he's well-liked around the league, but in retrospect, his handling of these two vets is more than a a little sneaky. At least things have turned out well for both of them -- and, you could argue, will strengthen their respective legacies in the long run.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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