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Before Chauncey Billups was claimed by the Clippers on Monday, the NBA sent an e-mail to teams that threatened discipline against the free agent guardif he refused to report to a team that claimed him in the waiver pool or was disruptive to that team after reporting.
According to the e-mail, obtained by TNT’s David Aldridge, the league warned Billups and his agent, Andy Miller, on Monday that any statements made concerning not reporting to a team or being disruptive would be viewed as a breach of Billups’ contract, and that the NBA “is reserving all of its rights to take appropriate action against the player for his efforts to undermine the waiver process and the contractual rights of both the waiving team and any claiming team. Please also be advised that the NBA will fully support any team that claims Mr. Billups’ contract in the amnesty/waiver process and that subsequently believes it has grounds for discipline of Mr. Billups for breach of that contract.”
Miller, according to several sources, sent a letter to teams over the weekend that reiterated that Billups would be unhappy if anyone claimed him out of the waiver pool (for at least $1.35 million, the minimum for 10-plus year veterans like Billups) after being released by New York on Saturday via the amnesty provision. Miller did not respond to e-mails and calls seeking comment Monday.
In an interview with Yahoo! Sports on Saturday, Billups said he was “tired of being the glue guy” and said he was tired of being taken advantage of by teams who have thrown him into deals in recent seasons, such as when the Nuggets included him in the Carmelo Anthony deal to the Knicks last season. Billups is a Denver area native who was pained to leave his hometown team not of his own volition.
“After a while, you just kind of get taken advantage of in these situations,” Billups told Yahoo!. “I’ve been known as a leader, and I am a leader, but a leader can be as disruptive as he can be productive, especially when you carry a strong voice and people rally around you. This is about me now. This is about me, and teams should know that right now.”
League sources believe that Billups wanted to clear the waiver pool so that he could sign with Miami or another contending team when the waiver claim time period expired at 6 p.m. Monday evening. Earlier Monday, ESPN.com reported that Orlando’s Dwight Howard wanted the Magic to claim Billups as part of remaking the roster in a way more to Howard’s liking as he contemplates whether to stay there after next season. Howard asked for a trade last week and was given permission by the Magic to talk with the Lakers, Mavericks and Nets about a potential deal.
The league’s e-mail said that Billups could choose to retire rather than report to a claiming team, though it would absolve the team that claimed him from having to pay his salary.