I was offline for most of the weekend, so I'm a little slow with this, but thanks to all the readers who emailed to make sure I posted about ESPN's excellent Outside the Lines article on Chauncey Billups by Tom Friend. The entire article is worth reading, but the section describing the day he was traded feels like an absolute kick in the gut:
The talks are finalized before the team flies to Charlotte, and, on the flight, Chauncey can tell he's being ignored. "He notices Joe and none of the coaches can even look at him," Ray says. "And that's when he knows something is wrong."
When the flight lands, he chats with Antonio McDyess, who tells him about the impending trade. It isn't official yet, but the Pistons have filled McDyess in, because they need to trade his salary to balance the deal. They tell him that Denver will waive him, and they'll want to re-sign him. But they tell Chauncey nothing.
Though he has been traded three times before, it still stings. At the team hotel, on Nov. 2, Dumars and the coaches are staying right down the hall from him, but no one invites him down for a goodbye chat. Then, on the morning of Nov. 3, before the shootaround, it becomes official: Chauncey to Denver.
He's going home again, but he calls Piper and tells her it feels bittersweet. "I've been through some dark alleys with them dudes, man,'' he tells her. "They're my brothers."
He begins packing at the team hotel, when there's a knock on the door. It's Hamilton and Prince, the trio together one last time. They embrace, cry, laugh and reminisce. They call Ben Wallace, a Cavalier now, and put him on speaker phone. Wallace tells them, "I told you how they are." Hamilton is the most affected of all. He has just signed an extension, and he tells Chauncey he wants to be traded now, that if he'd known they were going to trade Chauncey, he never would've re-upped in Detroit.
The article is literally almost 8,000 words, and I'm doing a disservice by highlighting perhaps the worst possible part that a Pistons fan would be interested in reading, so once that knot in your stomach untangles itself, click over and give it a read.
Also, if you're watching Nuggets/Mavs tonight, feel free to use this as your pseudo game-thread ...
(hat-tip: Chad, V, PS, everyone else already talking about it in the comments ...)