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Trade would reunite Billups, Hamilton

Marc J. Spears
Yahoo Sports

DENVER – Denver Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups(notes) looked at his cell phone Tuesday morning and noticed he was receiving a call from an old teammate who very well could become his new teammate.

“That’s Rip calling me right now,” Billups said before letting the call go to voice mail.

Billups and Detroit Pistons guard Rip Hamilton are among the key pieces of the proposed trade that could send them with Carmelo Anthony(notes) to the New Jersey Nets. Billups and Hamilton arrived in Detroit in 2002 and won a championship together two years later.

Billups has had several conversations with Hamilton about the potential trade and expects a resolution before too long. While Billups doesn’t want to leave his hometown of Denver, he’s accepted it’s a real possibility. Hamilton, meanwhile, is more than ready to leave the rebuilding Pistons.

“I’m sure we will find out soon if it will be a reality or not,” Billups told Yahoo! Sports. “I’ll be ready either way. Of course, Rip is pulling for anything to get out of his current situation. We will see.”

Billups’ agent, Andy Miller, said last Saturday his client preferred to finish his career with the Nuggets and would seek a buyout if he were dealt. Billups is still disappointed about the possible trade but is coming to grips with the reality of it. To make Billups more comfortable about the move, the Nets are expected to guarantee the $14.2 million he’s due in the final year of his contract next season rather than exercise a $3.7 million buyout before June 23.

“I’m going to play basketball at a high level wherever I’m at, whether I’m here or there,” Billups said. “I don’t know any different. I am not going to compromise my character.”

Billups stayed home from the Nuggets’ practice Monday because of a headache. His three young daughters aren’t happy about the possibility of their father leaving.

“My girls are having a hard time knowing that daddy possibly might not be around for a few months,” Billups said. “People don’t understand that side of professional sports with the families. They think about all the money that you make and everything. Sometimes that’s not enough. Money is not everything. It’s just tough, but that’s just how the ball bounces and I have come to terms with that a long time ago in my career.”