NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Brooklyn Nets apparently aren’t alone in considering free-agent center Jason Collins.
According to the New York Daily News, the Los Angeles Clippers also have interest in Collins, who hasn’t played a game since announcing last April that he is gay.
Collins was a member of the Washington Wizards when he made the announcement in Sports Illustrated. The 7-footer was linked to the Nets and Detroit Pistons during the offseason but remains unsigned.
The undersized Nets worked out Collins during the All-Star break, general manager Billy King confirmed on Thursday. Collins would become the NBA’s first openly gay active player if he’s signed.
The Nets could use a presence in the paint with center Brook Lopez out for the year with another foot injury and forward Reggie Evans shipped off to Sacramento.
“I think he’s a possibility,” coach Jason Kidd told WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Friday. “But we also have to look at other candidates too. I can’t say that he’s not a candidate, but we’re looking.”
The Clippers also seem to be a fit after unloading forwards Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens prior to Thursday’s trading deadline. Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers praised Collins last year while still with the Boston Celtics.
“He told me he was coming out and I told him, ‘Great. Good. Let’s move forward,’” he said, according to the New York Post. Rivers left Boston to coach the Clippers in June. “I jokingly said ‘I wish you could’ve got me more rebounds, because that’s all I care about, really.’ ”
Collins also has a personal relationship with ex-teammate Kidd.
“It’s not a worry,” Kidd told Benigno and Roberts when asked how his players would react to Collins.
“It’s about basketball,” the Nets coach added. “And for him, the opportunity to help (whether) it’s the Nets or any other NBA team, which I think he can do.”
The 35-year-old Collins was a member of the New Jersey Nets from 2001-08 and also had stints in Memphis, Minnesota, Atlanta and Boston. Collins played in 32 games for the Celtics in 2012-13, averaging 1.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 0.2 assists in 10.3 minutes. In six games for Washington, he averaged 0.7 points, 1.3 boards and 0.3 assists in 9.0 minutes.
Collins has career averages of 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Collins marched in Boston’s gay pride parade on June 8. He recently applauded Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who hopes to be drafted as the NFL’s first openly gay player after coming out earlier this month.
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