Pistons guard Chauncey Billups often hears he can become the next great NBA coach. He is flattered, but Billups said he has his eye on the front office after he retires from the league.

“Of course I have been thinking about my future the last five years,” Billups said. “I think a lot of people think that would be the natural progression because of what I do on the court. But if I had my desire I want to be in the front office and put the team together and be behind the scenes rather than being on the court every day.”

So why is Billups viewed as a future coach? He is a mentor to young players.

Brandon Jennings is a young guard still finding his way in the league. He was being mentored by his coach, Maurice Cheeks. But Cheeks was fired Sunday morning, and now Jennings is turning more to Billups for mentoring.

“Chauncey Billups is still here,” Jennings said. “He is a guy I talk to all the time. I am still having fun and instead of taking things so personal I am thinking about so much other stuff. I am having fun. I am just hooping.”

Fun.

It is one of the things Billups taught Jennings. Basketball is a serious business, but if you are not in the business of having fun, you will fail. Often Jennings looked into the stands at fans who said things he did not like. You could tell he was angry but tried to hold everything inside.

Billups is now 37 years old and is a 16-year veteran who has been an All- Star five times and played in 146 playoff games. But once upon a time he was a wide-eyed rookie with a bad reputation of being a ball hog. He needed to learn the league, learn to distribute and learn to run a team. Dee Brown and Dana Barros took him under their wings when the Boston Celtics selected him third in the 1997 draft.