The Los Angeles Lakers are in need of help at the point guard position and it could be coming from an unexpected source.
Veteran guard Darren Collison — who retired in the offseason — is reportedly considering a return to the NBA, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Collison is expected to return to the league after the Feb. 7 trade deadline and is looking at either the Lakers or the Clippers as the top options. He’s played for both Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and Lakers skipper Frank Vogel in his career.
Collison is just 32 and can still be a contributor. He averaged 12.5 points and 5.0 assists over his career and can be a 3-point threat as well. He shot nearly 47% from deep during the 2017-18 season, leading the league. He shot over 40% last season as well.
Following the announcement of his retirement, Wojnarowski reported that Collison was on target to “secure a $10M-$12 million annual salary in free agency,” which is what made the move a bit shocking. Collison made $43 million during his NBA career.
Why Darren Collison Retired from the NBA
With so much money on the table and obviously some opportunity, Collison explained his decision via the Undefeated.
“Basketball has been my life since I was a child. I could never imagine finding anything that brings me more joy than I get from playing the game. While I still love basketball, I know there is something more important which is my family and my faith,” he wrote. “I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and my faith means everything to me. I receive so much joy from volunteering to help others and participate in a worldwide ministry. The joy I feel is unmatched.
Collison played with the New Orleans Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, LA Clippers and Sacramento Kings. In his retirement piece, he referenced some of players that had an impact on him during his career, including current Lakers LeBron James and DeMarcus Cousins.
“I’m also appreciative of the great friendships that I have earned from my teammates, coaches, and front-office personnel that I will treasure for a lifetime,” Collison said. “Players such as Victor Oladipo, Russell Westbrook, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James who had a major impact on me competing at the highest level.”
Collison has averaged 29.4 minutes per game in his career. He played in 708 NBA games.
Collison is a California native and played his college ball at UCLA, where he was a two-time All-Pac-10 selection and a third-team All-American. He was drafted by the Hornets with the 21st overall pick in the 2009 draft.
He made the All-Rookie first team in 2010, but was never an All-Star.
Lakers Bench Exposed Against Suns
The Lakers looked like they were going to cruise to victory against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, but a late collapse forced the starters back in the game. LA still pulled out the win, 117-107, but the Suns made it a game after trailing by as many as 36.
“You always got to be engaged until the clock hits zero,” James told reporters after the game.
The Lakers — who lead the Western Conference at 27-7 — have won three in a row and face the Pelicans on Friday.