The Los Angeles Lakers played it safe at the trade deadline, so they will now look to the buyout market and free agency to bolster their lineup. Considering the Clippers added Marcus Morris, the Lakers almost certainly need to add a piece if they’re going to beat them come playoff time. One player who has been linked to the team for months is point guard Darren Collison.
Though he is technically retired, he’s only 32-years old and rumors of him joining the purple and gold hit an all-time high when he was spotted with Jeanie Buss during Thursday’s Laker game. While the optics of the situation obviously turned some heads, Collison is still holding his cards close to the vest.
“Just watching the game, ain’t nothing to it,” Collison said about his appearance at the Staples Center, per ESPN. “Got the best seats in the house.”
There’s almost no doubt the Lakers are trying to woo him to the team by giving him great seats to a game. He’s born and raised in Southern California, so he probably was more than happy to take the team up on their offer.
LeBron James Brushes off Collison Rumors
LeBron James is the unequivocal leader of the Lakers and he usually handles all the ball-handling duties. However, he can’t be on the floor for 48 minutes a game at his age. Los Angeles needs a ball-handler who can lead the team while LeBron rests. Collison would certainly fit that role, but LeBron will believe that the veteran is coming to the team when he sees it.
“I don’t like talking fantasy basketball, I’ve never been one to talk fantasy basketball,” James said, per ESPN. “We’ll see what happens, but I don’t really have too much to comment on that.”
Just like Collison, LeBron isn’t going to get too excited about something that might not happen. The Lakers can’t rely on being in Los Angeles as a way to recruit players who are from the area. The team needs to convince Collison that they have a better path to the NBA Finals than the Clippers do. That’ll be the differentiator if he actually does decide to return.
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Collison ’50/50′ About Returning
It’s clear that at least the Clippers or Lakers would love to add Collison to their lineup. The problem is that Collison is apparently still undecided on a potential return. According to Matt Barnes, the point guard is still “50/50” about returning.
If Collison decided to stay retired, that would certainly be a gut punch to a Lakers team that clearly wants him. That said, Collison could just still be playing coy with Barnes. There have been reports that he’s aiming to return after the All-Star break. That will pass in a couple of weeks, so the Lakers will know soon. Fortunately for the Lakers, if Collison does decide to return, there are reports that he prefers playing for the purple and gold. As long as he doesn’t end up with the Clippers that could be considered a win for the Lakers.
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