Despite their hot start to the season, many believe the Los Angeles Lakers are at least one piece away from being legitimate title contenders. This has led to many trade rumors surrounding the team. However, the Lakers are having a hard time making a trade because they don’t have very many appealing assets to offer other teams. That could lead to them taking a look at some veteran free agents.
NBA veteran guard Darren Collison abruptly retired before the season at the age of 32. Though the Southern California native has only been out of the game for less than a year, he could have an interest in playing for one of his two hometown teams. NBA insider Ric Bucher appeared on The Herd and said that if Collison were to return, he has little desire to leave Los Angeles, but he favors one of the two teams.
“I would gather by his previous relationship with Doc [Rivers] that he would prefer the Lakers,” Bucher said. “That would be his first choice, but… I’ve been told that he would take the Clippers over any other option, other than leaving LA.”
Collison & Doc Rivers Don’t Fit
Bucher brings up an interesting point about Collison’s relationship with Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. According to Matt Barnes, who was with the Clippers when Collison played there, the veteran guard could be apprehensive to reunite with his former head coach.
“I would hesitate going to the Clippers, one, because when we were there together, I don’t know how well him and Doc got along,” Barnes said on ESPN early in January. “And two, with that second unit, with Darren, he’s taking the ball out of Lou’s hands.”
He also believes the Lakers would be the better fit. As time goes by, it seems more and more likely that Collison’s return is imminent. He’d be perfect for the Lakers as they are reportedly looking to find ball-handling help for their second unit. Though there are bigger names available on the trade market, Collison wouldn’t require the Lakers to give up any valuable assets.
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Collison Could Be Why Lakers Turned Down Derrick Rose Trade
Another name that has been linked to the Lakers is former NBA MVP Derrick Rose. He’s excelled in a bench role for the Detroit Pistons and this has made him a hot commodity. The problem is, Los Angeles reportedly doesn’t want to give Detroit what they want for him. Appearing on the Mason & Ireland Show, ESPN’s Jorge Sedano revealed that the Pistons may have offered Rose in exchange for Alex Caruso, a second-round pick and salary filler.
“I’ve heard rumblings that the Lakers said no to that,” Sedano said. “Nothing confirmed. … I’ve heard through hushed tones and whispers.”
It would make sense why the Lakers would be apprehensive of letting go of Caruso. He’s become a big part of the team and a huge star in Los Angeles. There’s no doubt that Rose is a more skilled player, but Caruso means a lot to the team. If the Lakers miss out on Collison before the trade deadline, it could force their hand and they could change their mind on the Pistons deal.