Ex-Pis­ton Billups says he’s ready to run NBA team

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Sports -

Chauncey Billups is still eye­ing the chance to run an NBA team.

The for­mer Pis­tons stand­out was back in the Detroit area Fri­day night as part of the BIG3 — en­ter­tainer Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league of for­mer NBA play­ers, which made a stop at Lit­tle Cae­sars Arena.

Billups had talks with the Cava­liers last year but did not join their front of­fice. When Detroit over­hauled its or­ga­ni­za­tion this year, he seemed like a po­ten­tial fit, but that didn’t hap­pen ei­ther.

“My de­sire is to one day run a team, be in a front of­fice and try to build a cham­pion,” Billups said. “I know that I will and I know I’m go­ing to do a good job. When that op­por­tu­nity presents it­self, and it’s a good op­por­tu­nity, I'll be ready to go.”

The Pis­tons were run by Stan Van Gundy — their coach and pres­i­dent of bas­ket­ball oper­a­tions — for the past four sea­sons, but they moved in a dif­fer­ent direc­tion this off­sea­son. Dwane Casey was hired as Detroit’s new coach, and Ed Ste­fan­ski came on board as a se­nior ex­ec­u­tive.

“I thought Stan did a good job. Stan is a very good coach, but some­times you just need a new voice,” Billups said. “Coach Casey ob­vi­ously has been a very good coach the last few years, he’s re­ally as­cended to the top of the ranks in the league. What­ever hap­pened in Toronto pre­sented an op­por­tu­nity for him to come here.”

In one off­sea­son, Casey has been fired by the Toronto Rap­tors, got hired by the Pis­tons and was named NBA Coach of the Year.

Billups is still viewed fondly in Detroit af­ter lead­ing the Pis­tons to the NBA ti­tle in 2004. The team played at The Palace of Auburn Hills back then. The Pis­tons played their first sea­son at down­town Lit­tle Cae­sars Arena in 2017-18.

“It’s al­ways good to be here. Everybody knows how much I love the city, love the fans. Ob­vi­ously, I never had the op­por­tu­nity to play in this build­ing. I wish we would have. I wish we played in the city when we were here,” Billups said. “But The Palace was good to us. The city was good to us, the fans. So it’s al­ways good to be back here. I’m such a big Pis­tons fan. … I’m ex­cited for the team for next year. The East is wide open, and I’m ex­cited for the team. New coach, new ev­ery­thing.”

As for Fri­day’s BIG3 com­pe­ti­tion, Billups’ team — the Killer 3s — lost the night’s open­ing game. Metta World Peace of the Killer 3s was ejected. That was an un­usual de­vel­op­ment in what Billups said should be a light­hearted league.

Chauncey Billups

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