The Detroit Pistons have “registered exploratory interest” in signing free agent center Jason Collins, according to a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne. Collins became a free agent after finishing last season with the Washington Wizards, but the 34-year-old has made many more headlines this summer due to his sexual orientation as opposed to anything having to do with his basketball career.
Collins famously became the first active player in any of the four major US sports to announce that he’s gay when he wrote a Sports Illustrated article back in April, but there’s been very little talk about his “active” basketball career ever since. That could change soon, however, if the Pistons get past the exploratory stage and decide to sign the 7-footer to back up Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond in their frontcourt.
Collins has 12 seasons of NBA experience, though his productivity has waned since being a solid starter for the New Jersey Nets from 2001 through the 2007 season. The center scored just 41 points and picked up 85 fouls in 38 games between the Wizards and Boston Celtics this past season, but he’s still been able to find a bit of success on the defensive end and has been known throughout his career as being a positive influence in the locker room.
Even if it’s not with the Pistons, Collins should have an opportunity to play NBA basketball this season because locker-room leading veteran bigs who are willing to do the little things are always in command. If he ends up not being signed, however, hopefully it’s due to his skillset declining as his age progresses — something that our own Dan Feldman wrote about a while back — and not because of his sexual orientation.