I’ve made no secret that I’m not a big fan of the Travis Outlaw acquisition. I’d love to be wrong, but, it’s just a move I don’t really understand. Is he an improvement over Donte Greene? Sure, I guess – at least from the Greene we’ve known in past seasons. Is he cheap, at an annual salary of $3 million dollars a year? You could call that cheap, yes. That’s all fine and dandy, but let’s not kid ourselves – he’s not that much of an improvement over Greene and while an annual salary of $3 million dollars is pretty low cost in relative terms, it’s on the books for four seasons. On the plus side, it is a contract you could throw into a trade pretty easily – but I regress as this isn’t about my distaste about the Outlaw signing but rather why Outlaw was bid on and why Chauncey Billups was not.
The Los Angeles Clippers bid on the amnestied Billups was just over $2 million dollars (the max they could have spent was just over $3 million) – the Kings bid on Travis Outlaw was $3 million. Now, that doesn’t mean the Kings didn’t bid on Billups, they very well could have – but they didn’t bid above $2 million dollars to beat out the Clippers bid. I’m sorry, but that’s a head scratcher.
Yes, Chauncey Billups made threats about not wanting to play for a “re-building” team. Awesome. Good for him. And threats are just….threats. If Billups didn’t report to his claiming team, he was forfeiting his entire salary from the New York Knicks ($14 million), the salary from his new team ($2-3 million) and would have had to sit out the entire season (barring a release), causing a magnitude of problems for himself. To keep it simple, Billups was going to report – possibly unhappy, but he was going to show up and play.
Now, if the Kings had said they were comfortable with Jimmer Fredette as their top guard off the bench, I’d have understood this better but given their courting of Jamal Crawford, they clearly had interest in adding another high quality guard to their roster – don’t think you’re going to do much better than a cheap Chauncey Billups on a one year contract, do you?
Even if the Kings had bid on Billups, they’d still have plenty of money to bid on the amnestied Outlaw, so this wasn’t a one or the other situation – they could have had both. I just don’t understand how you deem Travis Outlaw worth $3 million (or 4 years, $12 million) when Chauncey Billups was yours for the taking for just over $2 million dollars.