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Chauncey Billups earns Olympic invitation

According to this brief report from the Detroit News, Chauncey Billups can have a spot on the Olympic team if he wants one. It will mean committing to the World Championships this summer, which was previously thought to be a problem considering Billups' wife Piper is expecting to deliver their third child in July or August. But given Billups' outstanding play this season, Jerry Colangelo, who's assembling the team, has indicated that the team would be flexible to Billups' family obligations.

This has clearly been a career season for Billups, not just in his performance on the court but also in the recognition he's received for his play. For a guy who was once drafted third overall, you wouldn't think that he'd have to constantly prove himself, but that was before he was shuttled around to five other teams before landing in Detroit. Even winning the NBA Finals MVP award in 2004 wasn't enough, as it's taken an MVP-caliber season this year just to get him close to his first All-Star game (and it has to happen, right?). And while I'd like to nitpick at the fact that he'll be a reserve despite the fact he's been the top point guard in the East, All-Star Game voting has always been little more than a popularity contest (B.J. Armstrong started in 1994?!).

Given Billups' level of play the fact that he's in the prime of his career, I think he's an obvious choice to represent the U.S. in Beijing in 2008. But will he also be representing the Pistons? Billups has the option of becoming a free agent following the 2007 season, and even if he activates his player option for the next year, he'll still be an unrestricted free agent the summer of 2008.

U.S. wants Billups [Detroit News]