Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Chauncey Billups will return as the Knicks point guard next season.
The team picked up his $14.2 million option on Wednesday, two days before the deadline to either pick up the option or buy him out for $3.7 million.
“We have made a decision to keep Chauncey Billups for the upcoming 2011-12 season,” Knicks president Donnie Walsh said in a statement. “Chauncey, Amar’e and Carmelo are a great nucleus, as we continue to look our team going into the off-season. Chauncey is an extremely talented and experienced point guard — we are very happy to have him back.”
The Knicks will now have Billups’ expiring contract to use as a trade chip going forward, potentially as an asset in a deal for Deron Williams or Chris Paul, both of whom become free agents in 2012.
Billups averaged 17.5 points and 5.5 assists for the Knicks after coming over in the Carmelo Anthony trade in February.
He missed three of the Knicks’ four playoff games against the Boston Celtics with a strained left knee, but said he expects to be fully healthy next season.
“My body has been great,” Billups said earlier this week. “I’m 34, not 39. My first five years I didn’t play that much anyway, unfortunately, but my body is fine.”
He also said he believed Stoudemire and Anthony needed a veteran point guard to get the most out of them. Billups, who will be 35 in September, is a former NBA champion and Finals MVP.
“Quite frankly, I think that it’s important to have somebody at the position, especially playing with Amar’e and ‘Melo, that has won and they pretty much have to respect,” Billups said. “They’ve got to respect the body of work because if not, those two guys are alpha males and if you’re a young player, you can’t feel dominated.
“But they know they can’t really do that with me.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.