The Knicks decision to retain Chauncey Billups at a steep price could
be an indication that Donnie Walsh is starting to regain his power
within the organization.
Walsh, who is in talks with Garden chairman James Dolan about a
contract extension, announced Wednesday that the club is picking up the
option year on Billups’ deal, worth $14.2 million. The Knicks had until
Friday to decide whether to keep Billups or buy out his contract for
approximately $4 million. The Daily News reported in February that
Billups had received a verbal guarantee from the organization that it
would keep him.
"We have made a decision to keep Chauncey Billups for the upcoming
2011-12 season," Walsh, the Knicks president, said in a statement
Wednesday. "Chauncey, Amar’e (Stoudemire) and Carmelo (Anthony) are a
great nucleus, as we continue to look to improve our team going into the
offseason. Chauncey is an extremely talented and experienced point
guard – we are very happy to have him back."
Billups, who turns 35 in September, was inconsistent after arriving
in New York via Denver in the Anthony trade. He never fully recovered
from a deep thigh bruise in early March and was forced to sit out the
final three games of Boston’s first-round sweep after hurting his left
knee in the final minutes of Game 1.