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Billups - Pitino Trade Barbs
[The Boston Globe Online][Boston.com]
[Boston Globe Online / Sports]
Billups, Pitino trade barbs over trades
By Peter May, Globe Staff, 10/07/99
WALTHAM - It's an article of faith
in sports. You get traded, and the
team you left suddenly looks a lot worse
than the team you joined.
The new Celtics who played for Denver
already have had their say about life as a
Nugget. (''People out there think it's a
hockey team,'' Danny Fortson said.) Now a
former Celtic in Denver has just weighed
in, specifically on coach Rick Pitino.
Chauncey Billups had this to say to Dave
Krieger of the Rocky Mountain News on the
deal that sent Ron Mercer to the Nuggets:
''I thought Ron would be there for the
majority of his career. But as I thought
more and more, Pitino is a cold
individual, man. There really is not that
much loyalty in that Boston organization,
I don't feel like. I know there's a lot of
other guys that feel the same way I do.''
Pitino read the comments and agreed with
Billups - to a point.
''It is a cold business,'' he said. ''It's
not college. I was extremely loyal to Ron
when I was his college coach. Now my
loyalty is to the Boston Celtics, and we
were not going to be able to re-sign him.
So yes, it's cold, but I have no problems,
like any other coach, making trades.
''Trading Ron was a business decision. He
told us if we did not re-sign him [before
the season], he was not coming back. And
we were very far apart. Trading Chauncey
was a basketball decision. He couldn't
play the point. If trading him back home,
where he's making 2-3 million dollars a
year - if that's cold, well, I wish people
treated me coldly like that.''
It was Coaches Day yesterday. Pitino
invited college coaches who in some way
were affiliated with him to witness
practice. Showing up were Florida's Billy
Donovan, Bruiser Flint of UMass (Pitino's
alma mater), Manhattan's Bobby Gonzalez,
and Herb Sendek of North Carolina State.
Also, there was former Celtics basketball
boss Dave Gavitt... Pitino on this season
vs. last season: ''Last year was a
nightmare, a terrible, terrible existence.
And I screwed it up for them when I tried
to get the guys in shape and everyone got
hurt.'' ... Guard Paul Pierce on his
summer: ''It's always fun playing
basketball, and that's about all I did.''
Pitino said Pierce is, in his mind, one of
the few players who works hard and does so
because he enjoys it. ''If we didn't have
practice [last night], he'd still be over
working out and shooting baskets,'' the
coach said ... The 23d annual B'nai B'rith
Tap-off Dinner is scheduled for Tuesday,
Oct. 26, at the Sheraton Boston. For
information about tickets, call
This story ran on page F03 of the Boston
Globe on 10/07/99.
© Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.