Billups says turning down Cavs was about timing, not LeBron
‘These kinds of decisions go down to a gut thing. … It just wasn’t time.’
Former NBA All-Star point guard Chauncey Billups took his name out of consideration for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ president of basketball operations job Monday, but Billups told The Undefeated that he did not consult with Cavaliers star LeBron James nor did James’ future in Cleveland factor into his decision.
Billups said he was offered the Cavaliers’ executive role last week and turned it down Monday because it was not the right timing or right fit.
The 2004 NBA Finals MVP was never offered a five-year contract as previously reported, a source told The Undefeated. Billups declined to give any details on the job offer, the circumstances surrounding it or the reason he didn’t speak to James about the opening. James can become a free agent in 2018. Billups did confer with his close friend, Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, throughout the process.
Billups said that his conversations with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert concluded in “good” fashion.
He told The Undefeated that his Denver-based wife, Piper, three daughters and other family members would have supported him if he took the job. “First and foremost, my family was 100 percent behind me taking the job,” he said. “It didn’t come down to that at all. At the end of the day, after carefully looking at the entire situation, I just felt it wasn’t the time. It’s that simple. I’ve got a ton of respect for Dan and the Cavs organization. But now just wasn’t the time.
“These kinds of decisions go down to a gut thing and my spirit. It just wasn’t time.”
Billups, 40, will continue working for ESPN as an NBA analyst and playing in the new BIG3 league. He said he still has an interest in working in an NBA front office. The five-time NBA All-Star does not have front-office experience but earned respect for his basketball mind during his 17-year career.
Billups recently interviewed with the Atlanta Hawks about their general manager opening, which was filled by Travis Schlenk. The Denver native also had conversations about joining one of his former teams, the Denver Nuggets, in their front office shortly after he retired in 2014.
Cavaliers assistant general manager Koby Altman has been running the daily operations after general manager David Griffin and the team parted ways in June.
“Absolutely, my desire is to be in the front office at some point,” Billups said. “I want the opportunity to build something special and to enjoy building it. That is something that would be very exciting to do, to build something desirable and sustainable.”
If he had taken the job, Billups would have become one of only four black presidents of basketball operations in the 30-team league, joining Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers, Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers and Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors.