Despite having multiple suitors, veteran point guard Darren Collison has decided not to return to the NBA and will stay retired. The Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers were among the top contenders for his services.
Collison informed the teams vying for his services his intention to not come back, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Lakers stood pat at the trade deadline and had long been rumored as a destination for Collison, who was reportedly eyeing an NBA comeback around the trade deadline after his surprising decision to call it a career in the offseason, leaving money on the table. Now they’ll have to find another way to improve the roster through the buyout market, which has seen a few notable names pop up.
After the deadline came and went on Thursday, Collison and his agent were seen having dinner with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and senior basketball adviser Kurt Rambis. He was also seen sitting at the game with Buss and was shown on the jumbotron at the game, drawing cheers from the Staples Center crowd.
“Just watching the game,” Collison told ESPN reporter Dave McMenamin about his presence at the game. “Ain’t nothing to it. Got the best seats in the house.”
Darren Collison Said Faith Played a Role in Retirement
Former NBAer Matt Barnes shared this week that Collison coming out of retirement was no sure thing and that it was a 50-50 decision.
“I texted Darren and he said right now it’s 50-50,” Barnes said on ESPN’s The Jump on Thursday. “There’s nothing definite.”
“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 is just 32 and could have been a key 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.
Collison 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 New Orleans Hornets with the 21st overall pick in the 2009 draft. Collison played with the Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, LA Clippers and Sacramento Kings.
Lakers Have Veteran Options to Fill Holes
The Lakers are in need of a ball-handling guard that can play a key role in the rotation. Rajon Rondo has served as the primary backup to LeBron James this season, but has not played up to the expected standard of a championship contender.
While Collison has decided not to come to LA, other options include: Isaiah Thomas, Dion Waiters, Tyler Johnson and Trey Burke. J.R. Smith and Jamal Crawford are two other veterans available that could add shooting if the Lakers decide to go that direction.