Posted by Sabrina B. @gametimegirl
Chauncey Billups does not want to be a member of theÂ New Jersey Nets if they are able to acquireÂ Carmelo Anthony. Â Billups made it known Saturday to theÂ Denver Nuggets, his agent said.
“If he is traded, he’d want to be bought out so he could survey the landscape and re-evaluate what he wants to do going forward,” agent Andy Miller told ESPN.com in the wake of numerous reports the Nets had engaged the Pistons in three-way trade talks with the aim of bringing Anthony, Billups andÂ Richard Hamilton to New Jersey.
As reported by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, the talks between Denver, New Jersey and Detroit have not progressed to the point where anything is close to being finished, and ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard has reported that the deal, as currently constructed, is not amenable to the Pistons.
Nor would it be to Billups.
“We’ve had numerous conversations with the Nuggets — today was the latest, but we’ve had conversations throughout the entire season — where we’ve made it clear that Chauncey wants to remain a Nugget for the duration of his career, and then after his career is over he wants to move into the front office,” Miller said.
“Short-term and long-term, these are his goals. We made it very clear, and he’d even be willing to stay in Denver and be part of a rebuilding process,” Miller said.
The Nets have been the most aggressive suitor in the pursuit of Anthony, who has declined to sign a nearly $65 million contract extension and can become an unrestricted free agent if he opts out of his contract by June 30.
A source with knowledge of the discussions between Anthony and the Nuggets told ESPN.com last month that Anthony has made it known to the Nuggets that if he is traded, he will only sign an extension with theÂ New York Knicks. But the Nets have not been deterred in their pursuit of Anthony, trying to enlist several teams to help broker a deal — the latest being the Pistons.
“A lot of it is conjecture at this point,” Miller said, “but there’s one thing that Chauncey wants to maintain if he’s not able to achieve his goals of staying in Denver: He wants to maintain his flexibility.”
Billups brushed off the trade talk after practice in Denver on Saturday, saying he would concentrate only on what he can control — his play on the court.
“My grandma taught me that a long, long time ago,” Billups said. “I can’t control it, I control this [basketball] the best I can. I kind of worry about that. It [speculation] really has no bearing on what I do out here.”
Billups’ thoughts are squarely focused in lifting the Nuggets out of their funk after the team dropped two straight road games to theÂ Los Angeles Clippers andÂ Sacramento Kings, who have a combined 19 wins.
“Our defense just wasn’t good enough — simple as that,” Billups said. “We didn’t compete hard enough. We didn’t take it as serious enough defensively.”
Nuggets coach George Karl refuses to press the panic button just yet, saying lulls like this are typical throughout a season.
“You always have at least three or four mini-crises every year,” Karl said. “Disappointed in how we reacted in Sacramento, how we played? Yeah. But we weren’t that far away from being a good basketball team. Just got to, as much as anything, keep the funk out of your team, the frustration.”
Karl doesn’t think all the speculation over Anthony was affecting the psyche of his team. To him, the Internet rumors amounted to nothing more than barbershop gossip.
“You don’t know what’s true or isn’t true at the barbershop,” Karl said. “I don’t have time to figure these things out. My job is to prepare.”
That’s a sentiment shared by Billups.
However, being a hometown kid who was a high school legend and then a star at the University of Colorado, he’s made it known he would like to stay in the Mile High City.
“I’ve been very clear about that,” Billups said. “I also know this is professional sports and this is a business. I hope that I’m here. Everybody knows that. If I’m not, I’m going to do the best I can with whatever happens.”
Billups has been bothered lately by a partially torn ligament in his right wrist, but said the injury is on the mend and no longer affecting his jumper. He’s averaging nearly 17 points and five assists a game.
As for management mentioning anything to him to quash the rumors, Billups said nothing has been vocalized.
Not that he’s worried.
“It’s always a chance, always a chance,” Billups said. “But you can say that for anybody in this room.”
Anthony has been the constant subject of trade speculation since he spurned the Nuggets’ three-year, $65 million extension over the summer, saying he wants to keep his options open.
One of the likely stipulations of any team willing to trade for Anthony would be that he signs the extension, so he doesn’t bolt next summer and become the headliner of the 2011 class.
Anthony also has made it clear the importance of a contract extension, especially with the collective bargaining agreement expiring next summer. The NBA wants major salary cuts in the next deal.
Asked if the Nuggets are trying to make a last-gasp effort to entice him to stay around with their solid play on the court, Karl said: “My thought process is you don’t get overly excited or disappointed one way or the other. We’ve got to win games.
“The more we win, the more chance we have at figuring that out.”
Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Follow Chris Sheridan on Twitter:Â @csheridanespn