Chauncey Billups rips Larry Brown for negotiating about his new team during the 2005 Finals: "We need all hands on deck, and LB's going through his little personal stuff"

chauncey billups rips larry brown for negotiating about his new team during the 2005 finals:

chaunecey-billups-and-larry-brown

The Detroit Pistons courageously battled until the very last of the 2005 Finals. In a classic and underrated seven-game slugfest against the San Antonio Spurs, the ‘Goin’ to Work’ squad fought tooth and nail but lost by inches, eventually surrendering their crown in a painful fashion.

From the perspective of Chauncey Billups, he and the Pistons would've likely completed their ultimate goal of a championship repeat if only Larry Brown remained committed to his job of leading them to their basketball war against the Spurs.

“We were really, really disappointed in coach Brown at that time," Billups confessed. "One, we know [Gregg] Popovich and him were best friends, this and that. We're trying like hell to beat these guys, man. We get off to a bad start, we're down 0-2. We gotta beat these guys four out of five times. Talking about we're pulling up at shootarounds and getting off of the bus, and we hear him negotiating his next deal. It had an effect on us, man. It was disheartening to know that. And everything that we knew and believed about LB, it took a hit for a little bit.”

LB frustrated the Pistons with his off-court stuff

The Pistons opened their final title defense embarrassingly, getting themselves smacked by the Spurs in the first two games of the Finals series on the road. With their backs against the wall, Detroit found an added dilemma as Brown, who guided them in their historic title win over the power Los Angeles Lakers from last year, was constantly missing when it mattered the most.

For most of the series, the Pistons head coach was a massive distraction that alienated the entire group. Throughout the series, Brown often engaged with his coaching mentee, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Behind the scenes, LB continued plotting his exit from the Motor City right after the season, with rumors tagging the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers as his next possible destinations.

Chauncey and the Pistons continued their grind despite the inside turmoil caused by LB and the roaring outside noises imposed by the media. Regardless of the pressure, they refused to give up and showed their championship heart by retaliating against the Spurs, knotting the series at two games apiece.

And even though they fell in a heartbreaking crucial Game 5 with Robert Horry burying his iconic three-pointer, they still survived and forced a do-or-die Game 7 in which they ultimately lost in a tightly contested fight in San Antonio.

Reflecting from that point, Billups is saddened by how Brown's lack of commitment played a major role in their downfall of securing a back-to-back reign.

"At that time, we're basketball players. We're all 25, 26, 27, 28. We don't know the business of basketball. Not at all. We just know we're the defending champs, and we're in a dogfight getting our butt kicked right now by the San Antonio Spurs, and we need all hands on deck. We need all hands on deck, and LB's going through his little personal stuff with the team and all that. It was just very, very poor. It was in poor judgment, it was in poor taste and it was at a horrible time. But our leadership on the floor was so strong that we were still able to stay focused and get through it, but we needed a little more from him,” Billups added.

Larry killed the Pistons’ dynasty potential

In the end, the reports around Brown's planned exit came to fruition. Days after their Finals loss, Detroit team owner Bill Davidson got fed up with LB's flirtation with the other teams and bought out the remaining deal of his contract. As such, Larry ultimately joined his hometown team, the New York Knicks, as their next head coach, but the grass wasn’t greener on the other side as he only lasted a single season with them. On their end, the Pistons maintained their heavyweight standing but failed to make a Finals return with their core led by Billups in the next three seasons.

As great as Brown has ever been, he still stands as a polarizing coach with his notorious job-hopping habits. Unfortunately, it delivered huge trouble to the team, with whom he savored the highest glory throughout his decorated coaching career. The Pistons were on the doorstep of becoming a dynasty, yet they ended up stumbling out of misery from this missed title chance impacted by LB.

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