New York Knicks: Knicks Making a Mistake by Waiving Chauncey Billups

Andrew BaumannContributor IIIDecember 10, 2011

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 27:  Chauncey Billups #4 of the New York Knicks is helped up by Carmelo Anthony #7 and Anthony Carter #25 during a game gainst the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on February 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

This afternoon, the New York Knicks organization, underneath the new amnesty clause, waived Chauncey Billups. Billups, a former NBA finals MVP, was set to make $14.2 million with his contract.

I understand that the Knicks might have been forced to make this decision based upon monetary issues. However, I feel as if they underestimate the worth of Chauncey Billups. Last season, Billups averaged 17.5 points and 5.5 assists per game in the 21-game season he had with the team.

Waiving Billups would have been fine, and possibly even a smart move if they were the forerunner in the Chris Paul party. They are not, though, and on their roster right now they do not have a starting point guard. They recently drafted Iman Shumpert, but he is an unproven rookie who might not succeed in the league.

Especially now that the Knicks traded away a veteran PG who could have helped Shumpert develop, they are stacking the house on whether or not they can find a reliable PG through free agency or whether or not Shumpert can become their starter.

An aging Billups would have found it easy, and probably preferable, to play less minutes on the Knicks team to keep his aging body out of the throws of injury. While making a brilliant move by adding a solid defensive center in Tyson Chandler instead of pursuing another superstar, the Knicks now have more questions than answers with the waiving of Billups.

They need to come together as a unit, and the fastest way to do that would have been to keep around a veteran presence like Billups who could glue the team together. An excellent PG, Billups could have taken back from a shooting role and purely facilitated scoring for Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler. He's shown that he is definitely capable of distributing the basketball with a career high of 8.6 assist per game during his 2006 campaign with Detriot. 

The Knicks need a PG who can facilitate an offense and step back on shooting, while at the same time being a presence at defense. An aging Chauncey Billups could have easily performed this role, while giving the rookie Shumpert minutes to develop his game. Time will tell as to whether this was a good move for the Knicks, but hopefully Shumpert is the answer, or another player on the trade block or in free agency is.