In his Chauney Billups feature, Tom Friend of ESPN wrote:
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.
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News offers some clarification:
OK, the truth is, Hamilton hadn’t signed his extension. He’d agreed to it, but the team was on the road. When they got back, Joe Dumars called Hamilton into his office. He held the unsigned contract between his thumbs. He basically told Hamilton, if you are so upset, we can tear this contract up right now. Hamilton signed it.
These excerpts aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. In fact, I’d say they’re probably both true. Hamilton likely told Billups he wanted out immediately after the trade. Then once he had more time to think, he decided to sign the extension.
This jives with a column Michael Rosenberg of the Free Press wrote in December. Via Full Court Press (because it’s no longer available on the Free Press’s site):
And speaking of business: A few weeks ago, Billups said he didn’t think Rip would have signed his three-year contract extension if he had known the trade was coming. Remember, Hamilton signed just days before the deal went down. I asked Hamilton if Billups was right.
"Well, Chaunce … you know what I’m saying, Chaunce …" he said, searching for the right words. "I love the city of Detroit. When I came here from Day 1, this is somewhere that I wanted to retire. When I got the opportunity to play in the playoffs for the first time, got the opportunity to win a championship, I always felt this is where I wanted to be."
Tags: Richard Hamilton