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The Brooklyn Nets may sign Jason Collins to a 10-day contract, which could make him the first openly gay player acknowledged by the media to play in a major American sport.
Collins came out last year to much fanfare but was not signed after his contract with the Washington Wizards was up, largely because he was at the tail end of a mediocre career.
ESPN reporters Ohm Youngmisuk and Marc Stein reported that the Nets worked out Collins in Los Angeles during the All-Star break. The Nets, “after letting Thursday’s trade deadline pass without a deal for the Los Angeles Lakers’ Jordan Hill, are weighing the addition of another big man and have identified Collins as a prime candidate to join their frontcourt rotation via the 10-day route”:
No final decision has been made, but sources said the 35-year-old was auditioned by the team in a private workout earlier this week to assess the state of his game after last playing with Washington almost a year ago.
The Nets could be a good fit for Collins because he has played with many of the players on the squad. Collins was also Nets coach Jason Kidd’s teammate when they played for the New Jersey Nets:
The Nets, though, are an organization filled with Collins supporters and experienced players less likely to be fazed by the media blitz that the signing inevitably will spark, which is among the factors most frequently cited to explain why it’s taken so long for Collins to find a new team.
For starters, Collins would be reunited with Nets coach Jason Kidd, who played alongside the defensive-minded big man in New Jersey from 2001 to ’08, making two trips together to the NBA Finals. Collins also played with Nets guard Joe Johnson for three seasons in Atlanta and spent half of the 2012-13 season in Boston alongside Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett before being traded to the Washington Wizards. Collins also is friends with injured Nets center Brook Lopez, who, like Collins, played alongside his twin brother at Stanford.
The Nets are looking for some added size and depth at the center position after losing Lopez for the season to yet another broken foot in December. Sources said that this week’s trade of backup bruiser Reggie Evans to Sacramento, along with the Nets’ decision Thursday to ultimately decide against trading for Hill, created a further need in Brooklyn’s frontcourt.