After their blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics, the Brooklyn Nets are going to have to round out their roster with minimum-contract guys who can contribute a little on the court and fit in the locker room.
How about Jason Collins?
The first player in a major American team sport to come out as gay may have found a landing spot for next season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Collins, 34, has close relationships with new Nets coach Jason Kidd and top assistant Lawrence Frank. They were together for seven successful seasons with the Nets when Frank was a coach, Kidd was the point guard and Collins provided a physical, defensive presence.
There’s reason to believe that he’d have a strong comfort level returning to an organization that knows him well and values his tough, defensive-minded sensibilities.
In May, after the season ended, Collins went public with his sexuality in a Sports Illustrated piece.
Collins is a 12-year NBA veteran and a free agent. He was a member of the Celtics with Pierce and Garnett last season, but was shipped to Washington mid-season, something that reportedly didn’t sit well with Garnett.
What the Nets need is defense and to get tougher on the court — Garnett is certainly the key to that transformation. But Collins could help there in a limited role because physical defense is what he does best. And he’s a veteran respected in the locker room wherever he’s been.
This may or may not be come together, but there are limited landing spots for a guy of Collins age and skill set. This would be one of them.
Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.
Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.
Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”
That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)
Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.
But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.
The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.
Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.
Enter Greg Smith.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.
But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.
Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.