Chauncey Billups lands in Clips' logjam

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- New Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups meant everything he has said in recent weeks.

He wanted to play for a championship-contending team above all else. He really was considering retirement. And he was really, really offended at being waived by the New York Knicks, even if was through the one-time amnesty-clause provision in the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement.

"It is what it is," a composed Billups said Friday. "I'm a Clipper, and I'm happy to be here. It could have been much worse."

"This is a really good situation. I think these guys are ready to take the next leap and I think I can be a part of that."

The 35-year-old Billups, a five-time NBA All-Star, met with L.A. media Friday at the team's practice facility, less than 24 hours after Chris Paul's introductory news conference Thursday.

He addressed a number of pressing questions that have been floating around since the Clippers picked him up on waivers Monday, including what his primary position would be now that fellow point guard Paul is also in the fold and what his long-term future holds.

"I'm a point guard, and, in my eyes, we'll probably be starting two point guards," Billups said. "I'm a lead guard and a playmaker, and so is Chris.

"We're going to cause a lot of teams a lot of problems."

As Billups talked Friday, another Clippers point guard, Mo Williams, stood nearby, watching silently. The 31-year-old NBA veteran made it clear earlier this week that he was taken aback by his team's pickup of Billups -- and that was before the Paul trade was consummated.

Williams now stands as the Clippers' third guard but will also have to compete for playing time with second-year guard Eric Bledsoe when he returns from injury in late January. He could also be potential trade bait with an expiring contract.

Billups, who will begin practicing with the team Saturday, will make a guaranteed $14.2 million in 2011-12, with just more than $2 million of that coming from the Clippers. The Knicks will pay the rest after using the amnesty clause in the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement to get him off their salary cap.

After that, the Clippers will retain his Bird Rights, meaning they will have the ability to go over their salary cap to sign him -- an important aspect considering they will soon have two max-contract players in Paul and superstar forward Blake Griffin.

"I don't have that many years left in the league, and I want to make them count," Billups said. "I want to go out of the game gracefully.

"And winning. Because that's what I'm all about."

Billups admitted he "contemplated" retiring after being claimed by the Clippers, but he was also clearly offended at being released by the Knicks. Going over what happened with New York, he mentioned the word -- "waived" -- seven times in a 45-second period.

"You'd just never think that being waived is gonna be one of the things that happens to you," he said.

Last week, Billups told ESPNNewYork.com that he was confused as to why the Knicks were so vigorously pursuing Paul, then a Hornet. He said he was never given a fair shot at being the long-term point guard for New York alongside star forward Carmelo Anthony.

"From the first day I got there, it was always about who was going to be the next point guard, without giving me a real chance," Billups said then. "I get it, but at the same time my track record speaks for itself.

"Give me a real chance to prove I can be that guy."

He didn't back down from his comments Friday, even though Paul joined him in L.A. Wednesday after the Clippers traded three players and a 2012 first-round pick to New Orleans for him.

"That's how I felt, and that's how I feel," Billups said Friday. "The things that I said, I meant."

But Billups also called Paul his "little brother" after Paul repeatedly referred to Billups as his "big brother" in his news conference on Thursday.

"We've been really close throughout the years he's been in the league," Billups said. "I'm excited to have the opportunity to play with him."