Chauncey Billups may be a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, but Detroit will always be his home.
As the Clippers traveled to face Detroit for a game at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Monday night, Billups was overcome with all sorts of emotion.
The Clippers beat the struggling Detroit Pistons 88-76, but the former Piston point guard was irked by what he saw– or didn’t see– at The Palace: a lack of fan support.
“It’s hard to see The Palace like this. It sticks at you a little bit.”
Billups and many other people are still scratching their heads over the trade that Joe Dumars made that sent the 15-year veteran packing and brought a washed-up Allen Iverson to Detroit to replace him.
“We haven’t talked in depth about the actual trade, nor do I really (want to). He’s in his position. He’s the man, He makes the calls. The players move accordingly after that. I’m not in that position. It is what it is. I still don’t get it. You see the results. You know what I mean? That’s how it is.”
Billups didn’t get to play in the game because of a left ankle injury, but that didn’t stop him from reliving the memories of years’ past.
The point guard remembered taking the Pistons to multiple conference championships and a couple NBA Finals. He was the NBA Finals MVP for the Pistons in 2004 when they won it all and was a five-time all-star as a member of the team.
It was next to impossible to find an empty seat in The Palace when Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince donned the Pistons red, white and blue. Now, only one player remains– Prince.
The team has failed to make the playoffs for the past few seasons and have never been the same since dealing the 36-year-old. However, he hasn’t ruled out a return to Detroit before the end of his career.
“You never say never to any situation. I got nothing but great memories about here and winning, and this building was on fire. I would like for my memories to stay like that.”
With the Pistons sitting currently at 7-21 in yet another rebuilding season, Detroit fans would love nothing more than to bring back the guy that made them one of the NBA’s top teams for six seasons.
As for how he feels about the Pistons, he isn’t shy to profess his love:
“I will just say this first and foremost: No matter what happens, I’m a lifetime Piston. I always feel like I’m a lifetime Piston. As you know, I would have loved to retire a Piston when I was here, but that really wasn’t in the cards.”
Will Billups ever return to the place where he calls home? Maybe. Will he be welcomed in Detroit? No doubt. But will the Pistons ever be the same without him? Probably not, but with Brandon Knight at the helm, they are on the right track.