Found July 11, 2013 on Fox Sports Detroit:
Joe Dumars is getting the band back together. A few days after the Pistons brought back Rasheed Wallace as an assistant coach, the team has reportedly reached a two-year contract with Chauncey Billups. Billups, 36, isn't going to have the same role that he had on the 2004 NBA championship team, but he can certainly add some much-needed stability to the point guard position. Because of a torn Achilles' tendon, Billups has only played 42 games in the last two seasons, playing alongside Chris Paul with the Clippers. With Detroit, he gives a young team someone who isn't going to be rattled bringing the ball up the floor in late-game situations, and someone who can mentor Brandon Knight and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on the art of playing guard. More importantly, it is a symbolic apology for one of the worst moves Joe Dumars has made in his tenure as Pistons president. Only Darko Milicic rates above his decision to break up the mid-2000s team by trading Billups to Denver for Allen Iverson. Even though Iverson was only supposed to be a short-term Piston before leaving to create cap space, the move backfired when Iverson quickly became a locker-room cancer, and the cap space was wasted on Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. At the same time, Billups flourished in his hometown, leading the Nuggets to a conference finals appearance and helping Carmelo Anthony finally mature into a superstar. That apology isn't to Billups, who has been on winning teams since leaving Detroit, but to the fanbase. Iverson was despised by Pistons fans, and the ensuing slide to the bottom of the Eastern Conference has caused attendances to plummet at the Palace. Billups, memorably got a long standing ovation in his first return with Denver, and has been warmly greeted every time he has come back with the Nuggets and Knicks. His return will certainly be a big step toward bringing back the fans that feel Detroit's decline began on the day Dumars sent "Mr. Big Shot" -- the 2004 NBA Finals MVP -- to the Rocky Mountains. Don't make the mistake of thinking this is only about sentiment, though. Billups isn't the same player he was 10 years ago, especially after the torn Achilles' tendon -- he really hasn't gotten his jump shot back -- but he's still a smart guard who can pass the ball as well as almost anyone. He also won't have a problem deferring to Detroit's younger players, since he spent the last two seasons playing shooting guard in an effective partnership with Paul. It's not a big contract -- Billups is only expected to make 5 million over two years -- but it brings in a veteran who can give the Pistons a push in the right direction, both on and off the court, and it should also be the first step in ending six years of bitterness from the fans who felt betrayed when Billups was traded.
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