3. Chauncey Billups signs with the Detroit Pistons (2002)
Looking like a “bust” after bouncing around to three different NBA teams in four seasons, Billups had a breakout season in 2001-2002 with the Minnesota Timberwolves, helping guide them to 50 wins. When he became a free agent, he wanted to re-sign with Minnesota, but the Timberwolves had a myriad of cap issues they were dealing with, and wanted to see how their prior starting point guard — Terrell Brandon — would look coming off a knee injury. So, the Detroit Pistons swooped in and signed Billups to a six-year, $35 million contract, and made him their starting point guard. It was in Detroit that Billups officially gained the moniker of “Mr. Big Shot,” and helped lead Detroit to a championship win in the 2004 NBA Finals over the Shaq and Kobe led Lakers.