Reports indicate that the Detroit Pistons have made initial contact with free-agent center Jason Collins about a potential contract for next season. Collins, who played portions of last season for the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards, is best known for coming out last April as the first openly gay male athlete in any of the four major professional sports leagues in North America.
For the Pistons, Collins would provide some much needed depth at the center position in case of injuries to young starters Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. Currently, the two expected starters are the only two centers on the roster.
Collins made the veterans minimum on his one-year contract last season and would probably be due to earn the same this year; somewhere around $1.4 million due to his tenure in the league. The 34-year-old played in just 38 games last season, averaging 10 minutes, 1.1 points and 1.6 rebounds per contest.
Throughout his 12-year career, Collins has never been known for filling up a stat sheet. His best professional season, statistically, came in 2004-05 when he averaged 31.8 minutes, 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds for the New Jersey Nets.
Detroit would welcome his veteran presence and wealth of NBA knowledge among their young bigs. Much like Chauncey Billups will help the group of guards grow, Collins can do the same for the players on the block. Intangibles are clearly the benefit of bringing in Collins. But, along with his veteran-know-how, he could spell the Monroe-Drummond duo for spot minutes and guard opposing bigs.
The Pistons currently have 14 players under contract for next season and signing Collins would round out the roster. His veteran-minimum salary would not push the team over the NBA’s tax line.
The Brooklyn Nets have also reportedly expressed interest in the free agent center this offseason.