Chauncey Billups expected at practice

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Clippers expect Chauncey Billups to practice with them Thursday.

They are also still hoping he will eventually buy into what their plans for him are.

Billups was fully expecting to be the team's starting point guard and the veteran leader of the Clippers talented young core.

Now that the Clippers have acquired All-Star point guard Chris Paul, Billups will likely be asked to play shooting guard, a position he excelled in at the 2010 World Championships with Team USA as the Bulls' Derrick Rose ran the point.

"He's just trying to figure out how it's all going to work," said a Clippers source with knowledge of the situation. "We're going to have work through some things. Hopefully we can make it work.

"He's played the game the right way. He's been a champion. We're going to do whatever we can to make him comfortable here because he's a big factor in the whole equation here."

Billups had threatened to retire if the wrong team claimed him off of waivers after the New York Knicks used the amnesty provision of the new CBA to shed his $14.2 million salary off their books.

The Clippers claimed him for a little over $2 million and general manager Neil Olshey and coach Vinny Del Negro spent the next two days helping him feel good about coming to L.A.

Those initial conversations went well enough that Billups took his physical on Wednesday, did a workout at the team's training facility Wednesday night and planned to practice with the team on Thursday.

Then news of the Paul trade broke.

That change in plans was abrupt and a little uncomfortable for Billups, but the Clippers remain hopeful the situation can be resolved, the source said.

"We have enough time to let him work his way through it," the source said.

Billups' agent Andy Miller has not responded to numerous messages seeking comment after the Clippers claimed him.

Olshey has continued to compare the situation to the team's acquisition of Sam Cassell in August of 2005. Cassell was initially livid at the prospect of joining the Clippers. When he showed up to training camp in Santa Barbara, he didn't even want to board the bus to practice. Olshey said he convinced Cassell to take it one day at a time and the veteran eventually came around, had a great season and signed a two-year, $14 million contract extension with the team.

"We're not in a rebuilding mode anymore," Olshey said Tuesday, arguing that the Clippers are a better team now than the one Cassell was asked to join. "We're here to win and Chauncey can help us do that. He knows that. I think once he gets here and embraces it, it's going to be a great addition for us.

"We've got a lot of guys who can play. Now we have to teach these guys how to play to win. To have someone like Mo (Williams), who has been to the conference finals, to have a guy like Chauncey, that's got rings ... it's going to give them a road map to get them where they need to be."

Williams expressed disappointment at potentially losing his starting role to Billups on Tuesday, but said that he will not let it become a distraction with the team.

"This is a good problem for us to have," Del Negro told ESPNLosAngeles.com earlier on Wednesday, before the trade for Paul. "We're here to win basketball games and the more talent, versatility and flexibility we have, the better chance we have to win."

Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com.