Amar'e Stoudemire was the first to endorse Chauncey Billups' return. Then Carmelo Anthony did, too, saying, "I'll be sad" if Billups isn't back.

When the two faces of the Knicks' franchise – and the only members of the current team sure to return – say they want you back, that's a good sign Billups will be in New York next season. The Knicks' point-guard play in the last three games of the Celtics' sweep was another sign that they can't let Billups walk away.

The Knicks have until Friday to pick up Billups' $14.2 million option for next season, or they owe him $3.7 million. Billups, 34, wants to stay, and made a case for why this team needs him running the point.

"Quite frankly, I think that it's important to have somebody at the position, especially playing with Amar'e and 'Melo, that has won and that they pretty much have to respect his body of work," Billups said Monday. "If not, those two guys are alpha males. If you're a young player you can feel dominated, but they know they can't really do that with me."

The Knicks will weigh their options, but don't have many at this point.

Toney Douglas is more of a shooting guard and was overmatched by Boston's Rajon Rondo in the last three games, when Billups sat with a strained left knee. Rodney Stuckey and Aaron Brooks are among the better free agents, but they're restricted.

The Knicks could give Billups his $3.7 million and offer him a multi-year deal. But an expiring $14.2 million contract could prove valuable at the trade deadline if Chris Paul or Deron Williams are available and don't re-sign with their current teams.