Billups Seems Willing To Make An Exception

Posted: July 20, 2000

There was a time before the 1997 NBA draft when 76ers coach Larry Brown spoke openly about a desire to use the No. 2 pick on Colorado guard Chauncey Billups.

Now, Billups - an Orlando Magic free agent - is interested in the Sixers.

The 6-3 Billups worked out earlier this week for the Minnesota Timberwolves and told reporters that he is searching for stability and playing time even if it means signing with a team for the $2.25 million midlevel exception.

"I would have to put [the Wolves] right at the top of the list, along with Philadelphia and Utah," he told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "I'm looking for stability, which this team has, and what I also like is a team that's like a family. I like everything I've seen [with the Wolves]."

The Sixers, with a payroll that exceeds the salary cap, have their midlevel exception and their $1.2 million exception available, plus the ability to put together sign-and-trade packages.

"We like Chauncey, we always have," Sixers general manager Billy King said. "We don't need to work him out, we know what Chauncey can do. He's definitely on our list, but a lot will depend on what else we might do."

Before the Sixers selected Keith Van Horn in the '97 draft and sent him to the New Jersey Nets in an eight-player trade, Brown envisioned Billups as the point guard who would allow Allen Iverson to shift to shooting guard.

"I think [Brown] wants two guards who can break down people and can score, to have two quick guys out there and try to out-quick people," Billups said at the time.

He was selected No. 3 by the Boston Celtics and was subsequently traded to the Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets and Orlando Magic.

Billups, dealt to Orlando on Feb. 1, was placed on the injured list Feb. 17 with a dislocated left shoulder and never played for the Magic.

"I still want to show people that I'm the player people thought I was when I got picked No. 3," he said.

He appeared in 13 games with the Nuggets, averaging 8.6 points, shooting 33.7 percent from the floor and hitting just seven of 41 three-point attempts. His career scoring average is 11.8 points on 37.5 percent shooting.

Splitting the 1997-98 season between the Celtics and the Raptors, he led all rookies in three-point field goals (107) and attempts (325), and was fourth among rookies in steals (1.34), fifth in assists (3.9) and eighth in scoring (11.2).

Billups' agent, Andy Miller, was unavailable for comment.

SIX SHOTS

Sixers backup center Todd MacCulloch suffered a mild left ankle sprain in the first half Monday night while playing for the Canadian Olympic Team in a brawl-marred, 74-73 loss to Brazil in Montreal. MacCulloch did not play in the second half, but the injury is not believed to be serious.

The Sixers will host their third annual "Beach Bash," introducing their dance team for the coming season, Aug. 12 at Jack's Place, in Avalon, N.J. There will be a $7 cover charge for anyone over 21, with proceeds benefitting Sixers charities. . .Two items being auctioned starting today on the Sixers' Web site, www.sixers.com, will generate additional money for charity: a round of miniature golf and lunch in Avalon with captain Eric Snow, and an original acrylic painting of Allen Iverson done by John Stango. Bidding closes Aug. 2.

Send e-mail to jasnerp@phillynews.com

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