DENVER – Chauncey Billups’(notes) agent said the Denver Nuggets point guard missed practice on Monday because he wasn’t feeling well – and not because he was protesting a proposed trade that would send him to the New Jersey Nets.
Billups has made it clear he doesn’t want to be traded and would prefer to spend the remainder of his career in his hometown of Denver. He didn’t attend practice Monday following the previous night’s loss to the New Orleans Hornets, but Nuggets coach George Karl said the team told him to stay home because he wasn’t feeling well. The Nuggets said he’s expected to start Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns.
During the 2007-08 season, Jason Kidd(notes) was trying to force a trade from the Nets and missed a game against New York with what was described as a migraine. The incident drew the ire of the team and Kidd was eventually traded to the Dallas Mavericks.
Billups’ agent, Andy Miller, said his client’s illness was legitimate.
“He’s really sick,” Miller said. “He has a headache and was feeling under the weather. There is no correlation with regard to the rumors and speculation regarding a trade scenario. Chauncey’s professionalism should never be in question in regards to his responsibilities as a professional athlete.”
Billups is expected to be part of a trade that will send Carmelo Anthony(notes) to the Nets. To make Billups feel more comfortable, the Nets are prepared to guarantee the $14.2 million in the final year of his contract rather than exercise a $3.7 million buyout this summer, league sources said. Miller has made it clear Billups would still prefer to remain in Denver.
“I don’t think our status or our position has changed at all,” Miller said. “He’s still loyal to Denver. His loyalty hasn’t changed in the last 24 hours.”
Anthony said he regretted that Billups has become involved in the trade discussions.
“The whole Chauncey situation, for me to see him in all of that speculation, it’s kind of hard for me to see him involved with that knowing what they did to get him here in Denver, knowing that this is his home, knowing that he represents the city of Denver,” Anthony said. “For him to be finally settled in, looking forward to retiring, to see him in all the stuff going on right now, I feel bad about it. But I guess that’s the business of basketball.”