BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (AP) -Chauncey Billups never really considered leaving the Detroit Pistons.
``This is the first city and the first organization that has ever really shown me any love. I didn't want to break their hearts,'' Billups said Monday at a news conference before his charity golf tournament in suburban Detroit. ``There was never really a point where it got close to me leaving. My heart was set on staying in Detroit.''
Billups signed a $60 million, five-year contract earlier this month, allowing the Pistons to retain their floor leader and one of the NBA's top free agents this summer.
``You have to go through the process, but it's hard finding guys like Chauncey, who are great players and great guys, to represent your organization,'' said former Pistons player Joe Dumars, now the team's president for basketball operations. ``When you find them, you don't let them go.''
Billups has guided Detroit on the court during what has been one of the league's most consistent stretches in two-plus decades.
He was the NBA finals MVP three years ago, when Detroit beat a Los Angeles Lakers team that included Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, and he nearly led the Pistons to another title the next year.
Billups joined the Pistons as a free agent in 2002 after bouncing around the league. The former Colorado star was drafted third overall in 1997 by Boston and was with Toronto, Denver, Orlando and Minnesota in his first four years in the league.
In Detroit, Billups became one of the NBA's top point guards with his steady leadership and clutch shooting.
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