PLAYA VISTA, Calif. – The positive mood around the Clippers like never before received another boost Tuesday afternoon when Chauncey Billups, once upset to be claimed after the Knicks used the amnesty clause to waive him, told NBA.com he can imagine re-signing as a free agent.
“I’m not going to worry about that until the summer,” he said after practice at the team’s training facility. “But I want to be in a situation where guys are ready to win. Not just win the regular season, but win in the playoffs. We’ll see how this thing shapes up, but if we continue with the mentality that we have and players keep getting better, this may be the opportunity that’s best for me.”
Neither side is close to making a commitment with the relationship eight days old, the regular season yet to begin and no hard negotiations until July. If nothing else, though, it replaces the possible distraction of speculation that Billups would be unhappy to be with the Clippers after preferring to become a free agent this month to pick his own destination.
The presence of Chris Paul, under contract through the end of next season, is an obvious selling point. The two have been good friends for years – Billups attended Paul’s wedding – and feel they can play well together even though both are officially point guards. Billups has played off the ball before and Paul has three-point range on his jumper.
“Chris and I have been two players that have pretty much dominated and had a lot of success in our careers at that position,” Billups said. “For us now to be here together is a little strange, but at the same is a delight for me to be able to have somebody on the floor that’s the same cerebral player that I am. I’m used to seeing things that most people on my team didn’t see. We’re seeing things together and looking at each other, saying, ‘Yeah.’ ”