Step One was when the Cavaliers punished them, and the world watched the team self-destruct on the court.
Step Two was when they dealt Carlos Delfino for two second-round picks (in the next decade).
Step Three of the implosion of the Detroit Pistons took place this morning...Chauncey Billups opted out of his contract for the 2007-2008 season. He's free to sign with anybody he wants now.
Of course, the Pistons are acting all "we know he'll re-sign with us", but they're likely playing a fool's game now. Billups is gone. He's in it for the money, and no amount of "I want to stay in Detroit" talk can cover that up now. If he wanted to stay in Detroit, he'd have stayed in his contract. He wants the payday and he'll take it wherever it comes up. He's officially a hired gun now.
Most likely, another team will offer him a lot of money and he'll go play elsewhere (his contract was to pay him just under 7 million next season. He's projected to draw between 9-12 million now).
Memphis and Milwaukee have enough salary cap space to grab his attention, but there are plenty of teams who can use various clauses in their NBA contracts to pull together a very attractive deal. Obviously, I'm looking at Cleveland. The Cavs have a couple of options they can use to pull together a comfortable salary....but will they go for it?
The Cavs are 2 million under the cap now, but have the ability to use their Mid-Level Salary Exception and their Bi-Annual Exception, which will add around 5 million dollars of wiggle room to stay legal. That already frees up a total of 7 million dollars to sign a new player (or work in a trade). Clearly, the Cavs would need to trade away some talent and get nothing in return to clear out extra space, if they want Billups.
It's possible, but I don't see it happening for the Cavaliers. But I wouldn't be surprised if Milwaukee pulls the strings and makes a run with Michael Redd and Billups at the helm.