"If I get claimed by a team I don't want to play for, I would absolutely consider retirement," Billups told ESPNNY.com on Sunday. "The game's been really good to me, and I don't want anyone to feel bad for me. I've made a lot of money and I've saved most of it. I don't need the money now. I want to be able to play for something, a championship, and I want to be able to have my own destiny in my hands. If I don't, then retiring might have to be a decision I make."
Under the terms of the amnesty provision written into the new CBA, teams below the salary cap can bid for the amnestied player's services. The highest bidder is then responsible for that portion of the player's overall salary. If Billups goes unclaimed, he will become an unrestricted free agent at 5 p.m. (CT) tonight under the league's 48-hour waiver wire.
At that point Billups can choose his team. As he said, money won't be an option because he'll still receive his full $14.2 million owed to him by the Knicks for this season. So Billups will have no problem signing for the veteran's minimum with say, the Miami Heat or the Dallas Mavericks -- two contenders with point-guard needs.
As currently constructed, Jason Terry, Rodrigue Beaubois and perhaps even Dominique Jones will be playing behind Jason Kidd, 38. A dependable backup is critical in this 66-game schedule to be played over 123 days.
Dallas will play 20 back-to-backs and one back-to-back-to-back that wraps up seven games in nine nights. The schedule is littered with intense stretches and March and April are particularly brutal months, with more games on the road than at home.
Is there a connection between Billups and the Mavs?
Billups, 35, would come off the bench and split point-guard duties with the future Hall of Famer. With so many back-to-backs and long stretches, there could be nights where one or the other plays bigger minutes.
Would Billups want to play for the Mavs? Maybe. But would he rather start for the star-studded Heat? Mario Chalmers is the current starting point guard and rookie Norris Cole out of Cleveland State is the backup.
There's a good chance that come Christmas Day, Billups will be suited up inside the American Airlines Center. Take your pick which uniform he'll be wearing.