In April this year, Jason Collins came out as the first active male homosexual athlete in an American professional sport. So far, he's failed to find an NBA team that can use his defense, size, toughness and veteran leadership.
This isn't so much related to his sexual orientation, but the fact he's a 12-year journeyman big in a league that's increasingly made a backup center somewhat superfluous.
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com wrote earlier today that an informal poll of league executives and general managers during Las Vegas' Summer League shows that Collins stands a good chance to land on an NBA roster as a 12th, 13th, or 14th man. The belief is he'll catch on as we progress towards training camp and teams look to flesh out their rosters. The informal poll by Arnovitz mirrors the one ESPN.com's Marc Stein conducted among general managers the day after Collins came out in Sports Illustrated.
Some teams have shown an interest already, but we're still more than a month from the start of training camp, and Collins is unsigned. Here's a look at some of the teams that have expressed interest, but so far failed to sign the veteran center.
- The last team he played for, the Wizards, do not appear likely to bring the big man back as he was included in the Jordan Crawford trade primarily to make the numbers work.
- The Nets were also interested in Collins since he last played with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce with the Celtics before being dealt to Washington.
- Y! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that when the Celtics traded Collins to the Wizards in February, Garnett was said to have been "extremely frustrated."
- Collins also has a history with the Nets' Jason Kidd and new assistant coach Lawrence Frank, after playing under Frank during Kidd's run with the Nets earlier in the millennium.
- But because Reggie Evans was not ultimately included in the trade bringing Pierce and KG to Brooklyn, the need for Collins to backup KG and Brook Lopez dissipated.
- The Pistons expressed exploratory interest in Collins earlier this month. But after he worked out for them, they elected not to sign the 34-year-old out of Stanford.
- Collins expressed an interest in returning to the Celtics weeks before coming out as gay.
So Collins is still a free agent despite most executives believing he'll find a roster spot before the season starts.
The question remains: where will Jason Collins play next season, if at all?