The Lakers have long been rumored as a destination for Collison, who was eyeing an NBA comeback around the trade deadline after his surprising retirement in the offseason. After the deadline came and went on Thursday, Collison and his agent were reportedly seen having dinner with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and senior basketball adviser Kurt Rambis. He was also seen sitting at the game with Buss.
Collison spoke with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin about his suspicious night in Staples Center.
“Just watching the game,” he said. “Ain’t nothing to it. Got the best seats in the house.”
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.
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, but has not played up to the standard needed. The Clippers are also in the mix to land Collison, who wants to stay in LA, but the Lakers are the favorite to land the veteran post-trade deadline, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
Darren Collison 50-50 on Returning to NBA: Report
While all signs are pointing to the Lakers adding Collison, it’s no certainty — at least if a report from former NBAer Matt Barnes is to be believed. Barnes said there’s a chance Collison simply stays on the sideline, enjoying retirement.
“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.”
The Lakers stayed pat at the trade deadline despite a bevy of rumors linking them to various players. As Barnes points out, Collison could be a great addition to the roster as the Lakers gear up for a run at the title without having to give up anything.
“DC is one of those guys that keeps his body in shape. He’s very understanding of what his role would be in this league,” Barnes said. “He’s someone teams know can help.”
Why Darren Collison Retired From the NBA
“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 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.