Veteran Guard Comes out of Retirement to Sign With Lakers: Report

darren collison

Getty New Los Angeles Lakers guard Darren Collison.

As has been the case with many teams around the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers roster has been decimated by the league’s health and safety protocols. Many players have been in and out of the lineup and it doesn’t help that they’re already missing Anthony Davis and Kendrick Nunn due to injury. The team has already signed Isaiah Thomas and Jemerrio Jones using the hardship exemption but they needed even more players.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers are signing Darren Collison and Stanley Johnson to 10-day contracts using the hardship exemption.

Collison is the most notable addition as he’s been linked to the team for years. He’s been seen at games and was rumored to be joining the team during 2020’s championship run. The Los Angeles native retired in 2019 at the age of 31. He’s now 34 but has taken some time off and should have fresh legs. It makes sense for him to return now as he was a teammate of Russell Westbrook’s at UCLA. The two will now reunite with the team they both grew up watching.

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Johnson Was Recently on the South Bay Lakers

Similar to Collison, Johnson is another Southern California native. The former top-10 draft pick of the Detroit Pistons has bounced around the NBA over the years and was recently a member of the South Bay Lakers. He signed with the Chicago Bulls earlier in the month on a 10-day contract but didn’t actually end up playing in a game for them.

In his six games in South Bay, he averaged 15.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists. He’s only made 29.8% of his threes over his career so he’s not much of a threat in that regard. Right now, he’s just a body that they can use in case they continue to lose players.

Does Collison Have a Chance to Stick With the Roster?

A couple of years ago, the Lakers convincing Collison to come out of retirement would’ve been a big move. Now that it’s 2021, the expectations will be lower. He hasn’t played in two years and it’s hard to know if he’s kept in game shape. Also, the Lakers have a lot of point guards between Westbrook, Nunn and Rajon Rondo. This addition will likely only be temporary. That’s probably why Collison decided to come out of retirement now. He gets to play for a couple of weeks, collect a check and then go back into retirement.

That said, he could be helpful over the next could of weeks. The Lakers have lost three straight and aren’t playing well. Collison can be an effective point guard off the bench and he knows how to play with Westbrook. Also, he’s a very good 3-point shooter. He’s hit 39.4% of his career threes. The Lakers could seriously use some shooting help. If Collison proves that he can still sink 3-pointers with the best of them, Los Angeles may try to convince him to stick around for a while.

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