AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -Detroit Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups has opted out of the final year of his six-year contract, making him an unrestricted free agent heading into the summer signing season.
``He informed the team this morning that he was opting out of his final year with the Pistons and that makes him a free agent - which we expected,'' team spokesman Matt Dobek said Monday.
The 6-foot-3, 202-pound All-Star has said he would prefer to stay with Detroit and expects to be back if the team can match the best deal he can find from another team.
Joe Dumars, the Pistons' president of basketball operations, said shortly after the team was eliminated from the Eastern Conference finals by the Cleveland Cavaliers that his top priority was re-signing Billups when he became a free agent.
``We certainly hope we will be'' able to re-sign him, Dobek said.
The 30-year-old Billups, who played with the Celtics, Denver, Orlando and Minnesota in his first four seasons, was named the NBA finals MVP in 2004 when Detroit won the championship and was an All-Star in each of the next two seasons.
He averaged 17 points and 7.2 assists in 70 games last season, and has averaged 14.5 points and 5.3 assists over his nine-year career. His six-year deal with Detroit was worth $35 million.
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