Darren Collison retired from the NBA after last season, his 10th in the league. Most have suspected that it will not last long.
The former UCLA star has been on the radar for some major contenders during the course of the year. The two teams most commonly connected to him are the two Los Angeles clubs: the Lakers and the Clippers. He played one season with the Clippers, averaging 11.4 points and 3.7 assists in 80 games for the team in 2013-14. He left for a three-year deal with the Sacramento Kings that off-season.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Collison is set to make his return after the All-Star break. The Rancho Cucamonga native intends to stay in Southern California, and per reports, only wants to sign with one of the two Los Angeles teams. After one of today’s trade deadline moves, we have a pretty good idea of where he’ll likely be heading.
Ahead of the 3 p.m. ET deadline, the Clippers reportedly acquired point guard Isaiah Thomas along with Marcus Morris in a three-time deal with the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards. The deal sends Jerome Robinson to Washington, and Moe Harkless and a first-rounder to New York. Thomas’ inclusion in the deal seemed to indicate that the Lakers were the more likely destination for Collison.
From The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor:
League sources have long believed that Darren Collison's preference is the Lakers over the Clippers. With Isaiah Thomas now going to the Clippers, it's reasonable to expect the Lakers to eventually sign Collison.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) February 6, 2020
Nothing is final, though, and moments after that trade was reported, David Aldridge reported that the Clippers will not be hanging on to Thomas.
The Clippers will not be keeping Isaiah Thomas, acquired today from Washington in three-team deal with Knicks that brought Marcus Morris to LA and send Moe Harkless/picks to NYC, per league source.
— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) February 6, 2020
That leaves the door open for either option, and on ESPN’s The Jump, former NBA player Matt Barnes said that Darren Collison answered a text saying it is currently “50-50.” The Lakers are still being treated as the favorite here by members of the media.
The Lakers are expected to give free agent guard JR Smith a post-trade deadline audition (perhaps as soon as next week) and remain favorites to sign Darren Collison if Collison elects to make a comeback to the NBA — in addition to potential pickups on the buyout market
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 6, 2020
Collison has been a consistent, valuable role player since entering the NBA in 2009. He’s averaged at least 10 points per game every season, and has played at least 60 games in all but one year in the league.
Last season, he started 76 games for the Indiana Pacers, the second year in his second stint with the team. He averaged 11.2 points and a career high six assists, shooting .467/.407/.832 on the year. He’ll be an asset wherever he lands.