Shortly after the NBA trade deadline earlier in the year, the Los Angeles Lakers made a hard push to convince veteran guard Darren Collison to come out of retirement. He would’ve been the perfect player to the team’s second unit when LeBron James was off the court. After trying to woo him, Collison decided he’d rather stay put and reevaluate his position next season.
However, according to the man himself, he actually didn’t seriously consider a return.
“To keep it 100, they overhyped the whole thing,” Collison told ClutchPoints on Monday. “Like, I wasn’t even thinking about coming back. I actually just came to [a Lakers game in February] watch one of my good friends … [Russell Westbrook]. I just wanted to come watch the game as a fan.”
Now, those comments from Collison might be a little misleading as he was reportedly seen having dinner with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss before the game. That’s definitely a little more involved than “I just came to watch the game.” Collison talked about the Lakers further.
“When I went, it just so happens that they made this hoopla about me trying to play for the Lakers and they made it a big deal but there was not one time I was thinking about coming back because mentally I was just not in that right frame of mind.”
Collison lives in Los Angeles so there’s nothing inherently suspicious about him attending a Lakers game to watch an old friend. That said, it’s hard to imagine there wasn’t at least a bit of talk to the team about a potential return.
Collison Picks Lakers or Clippers to Win Finals
While Collison doesn’t seem to happy about the return rumors getting out of hand earlier in the year, he still has expectations for both the Lakers and the Clippers. When asked about which team is the favorites to win the championship, Collison said it will probably be one of the Los Angeles teams.
“I think it’s going to come down to Lakers or Clippers … I go back and forth,” Collison said. “I want to say the Clippers because of their team and their depth but then you can’t underestimate what ‘Bron can do in the postseason so I’m gonna go with either or.”
Lakers and Clippers are generally the two teams that people believe will win it all this year. In the first game of the NBA return, the two teams squared off with the Lakers pulling off the win. However, the Clippers weren’t at full strength. A playoff series between the two teams should be very interesting, to say the least.
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Could Collison Be an Option for 2021?
Even though he opted out of playing this season, Collison could try to make a comeback for next season. He’ll be 33 when next season starts and will have a pair of fresh legs. The Lakers have managed without him this year but the hole at backup point guard hasn’t really been filled yet.
If the Lakers do end up winning the championship, they’ll still need to get better. Collison would be a really good pickup for them if he does decide to come back. Considering he’s from Los Angeles, there’s a good chance that either of the teams from the city will get a shot at signing him.