Darren Collison

Pacific Notes: McGee, Kuminga, M. Gasol, Collison

JaVale McGee already has three NBA championship rings and he believes joining the Suns gives him a good chance to get another one, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. McGee chose the defending Western Conference champs in free agency, signing a one-year contract worth $5MM, and he sees his role as a mentor who can contribute valuable minutes as a backup center.

“I feel like my game definitely helps Deandre Ayton in a major way just for the veteran leadership alone,” McGee said. “Also when he gets into foul trouble and having that veteran big to come in that’s 7 foot, block shots, defend, rebound and does all the intangibles that a real big man does.”

McGee has played alongside some elite teammates during his 13-year NBA career, including Stephen Curry and LeBron James. Now he’s looking forward to teaming up with Chris Paul, who transformed Phoenix into a title contender last season.

“Every big man that has ever played with Chris Paul has done well,” McGee said. “I just feel like Chris Paul is definitely the head of the snake and he’s definitely going to lead us to the finals again.” 

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Jonathan Kuminga will need to be versatile to see significant playing time as a rookie, Warriors assistant Kris Weems tells Grant Liffman of NBC Sports. Golden State experimented with Kuminga as a small-ball center during Summer League to see how well he could defend post players. “When you are going to draft a kid that size, and knowing that long term he is going to be bigger and stronger, he may grow a couple inches taller, his versatility because of his size gives him a chance to stay on the floor longer,” Weems said.
  • Marc Gasol came close to signing with the Warriors last summer and could emerge as an option later this season, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Gasol has returned to Spain after being waived by the Grizzlies, but Slater notes that he’s the type of passing big man who performs well in Steve Kerr’s system and he could be tempted to return around midseason if Golden State is in the title hunt. The Warriors still have their taxpayer mid-level exception available, although using it would result in a significant increase in their luxury tax bill.
  • Darren Collison worked out for the Warriors earlier this month and remains an option for the 15th roster spot, but there’s speculation that he’s hoping for a training camp invitation from the Lakers, Slater adds in the same piece.

Warriors Notes: Collison, Roster Spots, Wiggins, Offseason Moves

Darren Collison is scrimmaging with some Warriors players as he auditions for a spot on the team, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. The free agent guard visited the team facility Wednesday and today for workouts, which have included Stephen Curry and Jordan Poole.

If Golden State does give the 34-year-old guard an opportunity, it will likely come as a non-guaranteed training camp deal, Slater adds. Collison retired after averaging 11.2 points and 6.0 assists for the Pacers in 2018/19, and he’s been an effective three-point shooter and a reliable ballhandler throughout his career.

The Warriors are planning to head into camp with their 15th roster spot and second two-way slot both up for grabs, according to Slater. Gary Payton II and Mychal Mulder will also be trying to make the team on non-guaranteed deals. Mulder is still eligible for a two-way contract, but Payton isn’t. The team could decide to start the season with just 14 players to reduce its luxury tax bill.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • In the wake of a report that players in San Francisco won’t be allowed to attend home practices or games unless they’re vaccinated, Golden State’s main concern is Andrew Wiggins, Slater adds. Wiggins told reporters last season that he hadn’t received the vaccine and didn’t plan to unless he was forced.
  • The Warriors received an A-minus from ESPN’s Kevin Pelton for their offseason moves. Golden State was able to upgrade its bench without using its mid-level exception, adding Nemanja Bjelica, Andre Iguodala and Otto Porter Jr. on veteran’s minimum deals. Pelton also likes the addition of draft picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, saying both should provide good value for where they were selected.
  • Golden State needs more scoring from Draymond Green and a stronger commitment to team defense from Wiggins, per Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area. She identifies Poole and James Wiseman as two other players who need to improve to help the Warriors become a title contender again.

Darren Collison To Work Out For Warriors

Former NBA point guard Darren Collison will work out this week for the Warriors, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Collison made a surprise retirement announcement in the summer of 2019, citing family and religious reasons. In his final NBA season in 2018/19, he averaged 11.2 PPG and 6.0 APG with a .467/.407/.832 shooting line in 76 games (28.2 MPG) for the Pacers.

There were reports that Collison might return with the Lakers or Clippers during the ’19/20 season, but nothing came of those rumors and he later said they were overblown. However, the 34-year-old reportedly worked out for the Lakers earlier this summer, signaling that he’s open to the idea of a comeback.

L.A. is on track to sign Rajon Rondo to bolster its backcourt, likely taking that option off the table for Collison, but Golden State makes sense as a possible suitor.

Although the Warriors have 16 players under contract, three of those players (Damion Lee, Mychal Mulder, and Gary Payton II) don’t have fully guaranteed salaries, and the team could use some reliable depth at the point behind Stephen Curry. For now, Payton, Jordan Poole, and two-way player Chris Chiozza are among Golden State’s best backup options.

Lakers Work Out Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison, Mike James

Free agent guards Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison and Mike James all recently worked out for the Lakers, who are looking for veteran help to fill out their roster, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

None of the three veteran guards will definitely be signed, sources tell Haynes, and L.A. may decide to have a training camp battle for its final roster spots. The Lakers currently have 12 players with guaranteed contracts and plan to carry just 14 in the regular season for roster flexibility.

L.A.’s priority is finding a third point guard, according to Haynes’ sources, and the team may be in the market for another wing player as well.

Thomas, 32, is hoping to revive his career after dealing with injuries the past four years. He played just three games last season on a 10-day contract with the Pelicans, but says he’s fully healthy now and has been playing well in pro-am leagues. He joined LeBron James and Russell Westbrook for a workout Tuesday in Los Angeles, according to Haynes.

Collison, 33, made a surprise retirement announcement in the summer of 2019, citing family and religious reasons. There were rumors that he might return with the Lakers or Clippers during the 2019/20 season, but he later called them “overhyped.” He played 76 games for the Pacers in his final NBA season, averaging 11.2 PPG and shooting 40.7% from three-point range.

James, 30, finished last season with the Nets after leaving CSKA Moscow. He was part of the rotation in Brooklyn, playing 13 games and averaging 7.7 points and 4.2 assists in 18.2 minutes per night.

The Lakers are expected to move on from veteran shooter Jared Dudley, Haynes adds. Dudley is a free agent after playing 12 games last season.

Darren Collison: Rumors Of Midseason Comeback Were Overstated

After making a surprise retirement announcement during the summer of 2019, veteran point guard Darren Collison was said to be mulling the idea of coming out of retirement to join either the Lakers or Clippers earlier this year. However, Collison – who elected to stay retired – said during an appearance on the A Minute Til 6 podcast (video link) that rumors of a comeback were overstated.

“To keep it 100, they overhyped the whole thing,” Collison said. “I wasn’t even thinking about coming back. … Mentally, I just wasn’t in that right frame of mind. I’m still trying to work some things out in my life and trying to help the youth out as well. I always felt like after this season, yeah, I’ll assess everything else. But this season I just never thought about coming back.”

An appearance at a Lakers/Rockets game in early February alongside Lakers owner Jeanie Buss fueled speculation that Collison might want to team up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, Collison said during his A Minute Til 6 appearance that he was just at that game to watch his friend Russell Westbrook in action.

Reports of Collison’s potential return persisted for weeks in January and February, so if he never seriously considered the idea, it’s odd that he didn’t squash those rumors at the time. Still, it wouldn’t have made a lot of sense for him to sign a prorated minimum salary contract after potentially passing up an eight-figure salary last summer.

Collison, who will turn 33 later this month, played well for the Pacers in 2018/19, with 11.2 PPG and 6.0 APG on .467/.407/.832 shooting in 76 games as the club’s starting point guard, so his retirement was unexpected. He said at the time that he wanted to dedicate more time to volunteer work and his Jehovah’s Witnesses ministry.

Based on his latest comments, it doesn’t sound as if Collison has entirely ruled out the possibility of seeking an NBA return at some point — if he does decide to come out of retirement, he’d be an intriguing option for teams in need of a veteran point guard.

Darren Collison To Remain Retired

Veteran free agent Darren Collison has decided to remain retired and is no longer considering an NBA comeback this season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Collison had been pondering a return to the court, with both the Clippers and Lakers heavily interested in adding the 32-year-old to their roster. Collison informed teams that the timing for his return simply isn’t right for him, Wojnarowski adds.

Collison last saw action with the Pacers during the 2018/19 season, averaging 11.2 points and six assists in 28.2 minutes per contest. He was seen at Staples Center for the Lakers’ game against Houston on Thursday with owner Jeanie Buss.

Collison holds career averages of 12.5 points, five rebounds and 1.2 steals per contest, spending time with New Orleans, Indiana, Dallas, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Indiana across his 10-year NBA career.

Although he won’t return to the league now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Collison won’t make a comeback down the road, perhaps even as early as this summer, as Sean Deveney of Heavy.com wrote last week.

Pacific Notes: Suns, Collison, Green, Holmes

Suns general manager James Jones defended his lack of moves at the trade deadline this past Thursday to The Athletic’s Gina Mizell. “I just felt that we’re building, and I didn’t want to disrupt the continuity,” Jones said. “That’s generally why we didn’t make a move. Our guys are getting better. They’re still developing.”

The Suns are currently seeded 13th in the Western Conference with a 21-32 record. They have not made the NBA playoffs since 2010.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Before Darren Collison observed a Lakers-Rockets Staples Center contest on Thursday next to team owner Jeanie Buss, he had already been in contact with some important LA personnel, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Anthony Davis and executive director of special projects Linda Rambis both spoke with Collison once word broke that the point guard was considering returning to the NBA, following his abrupt retirement in the summer of 2019.
  • Warriors forward Draymond Green joined ESPN’s The Jump on their ABC pregame show last night to discuss the team’s disappointing season (Twitter link). “It’s been [really] fun for me trying to mentor these guys,” Green told Rachel Nichols, Tracy McGrady and Richard Jefferson. He also discussed the team’s addition of pricey wing Andrew Wiggins from Minnesota. “He’s athletic, he can run the floor, he can score the basketball,” Green noted (Twitter link).
  • Injured Kings center Richaun Holmes has been participating in portions of the team’s practices this week, including taking some contact, according to a Kings team statement. An injury to the right shoulder joint has held Holmes out of game action since January 7.

Clippers Notes: Morris, Beverley, Noah, Collison

The Clippers believe newly-acquired Marcus Morris will have a smooth transition to his new team, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Morris was averaging a career-best 19.6 points per game with the Knicks and shooting 43.9% from beyond the arc before Thursday’s trade. Clippers officials expect him to provide an upgrade offensively over Maurice Harkless, who was sent to New York in the deal.

“There may be no better fit than Marcus,” general manager Michael Winger said.

In addition to his scoring prowess, Morris brings another dose of on-court toughness that the organization prides itself on. He’s joining a pair of former teammates in Patrick Beverley and Patrick Patterson, who played alongside him in Houston.

“My brother back with me. It’s on,” Beverley tweeted after the trade was announced.

There’s more Clippers news to pass along:

  • Coach Doc Rivers said the team did plenty of background work on Morris before the deal and was pleased with the responses, tweets Jovah Buha of The Athletic. “A lot of research goes into when you make a trade, especially with this team and where we’re trying to go,” Rivers said. “You can’t take any chances. You have to make sure guys are a good fit. … All the intel we had was very positive.” Rivers plans to experiment with some smaller lineups using Morris and JaMychal Green surrounded by three shooters (Twitter link).
  • Meeting with reporters tonight, Morris said the Clippers made a positive impression when he met with them in free agency, even though he wound up with the Knicks, relays Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). “I could tell that the main goal here was trying to win a championship and that’s something that I wanted to be part of,” Morris said. “Obviously last summer some things didn’t go the way I thought it would, but we here now, $15MM richer.”
  • Joakim Noah remains an option for the Clippers, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. A minor injury forced Noah to cancel a workout with L.A. just before training camp opened in September, but the 34-year-old center has been targeting a return once buyout season began. A source tells Heavy that Noah is fully healthy and “has been working on maintaining his conditioning and is hopeful that he’ll play this season.”
  • Even if Darren Collison decides against returning to the NBA this season, that may not mark the end of his career, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy. Collison, who is expected to decide soon and prefers to join the Clippers or Lakers, could put off his comeback until summer.

Darren Collison To Decide Future Next Week

Free agent point guard Darren Collison will meet with his agent, Bill Duffy, early next week to decide whether to come out of retirement, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. If Collison chooses to play, Duffy will set up meetings with the Lakers and Clippers, Wojnarowski said.

Collison lives in southern California and was spotted sitting next to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss at Thursday’s game against the Rockets.

Collison averaged 11.2 PPG and 6.0 APG for Indiana last season. He’s averaged 12.5 PPG and 5.0 APG in 29.4 MPG over 708 career regular-season games.

Collison chose to retire over the summer in order to devote more time to his Jehovah’s Witness ministry and spend more time with his family. He was also working with Pro’s Vision, a training company that works primarily with young athletes.

The Lakers have a crowd at point guard, though no standout. That group includes Alex CarusoRajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams are the Clippers’ top point men.

Collison played two seasons under current Lakers coach Frank Vogel from 2010-12 with the Pacers.

The Lakers have been looking for a point guard upgrade and made inquiries prior to the trade deadline regarding the Thunder’s Dennis Schroder and the Pistons’ Derrick Rose, among others, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

Western Notes: Wiggins, Collison, Warriors

While Andrew Wiggins‘ contract, which has over $94MM left on it after this season, may seem like it is a negative mark on his trade value, that perception is no longer the reality around the league.

The Timberwolves knew they likely had to move Wiggins (for salary-matching purposes) and reached out to other teams about taking on the 24-year-old prior to agreeing to terms with the Warriors.

The former No. 1 pick has improved his value considerably since last season — part of that is him buying into the plan set forth by Minnesota’s player development staff. Wiggins is finding better looks and taking a more cerebral approach to the game this year after putting in substantial work during the offseason.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Timberwolves had spoken to the Mavericks about a Wiggins deal prior to trading him to the Warriors, per a source. It’s unclear how far those talks went.
  • Former NBA wing Matt Barnes remains close with Darren Collison and says the point guard is “50/50” on returning to the league, as ESPN’s Rachel Nichols tweets. It was previously reported that if Collison returns, he’d prefer to go to the Lakers or Clippers.
  • The Warriors trading Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III caught the locker room by surprise. “So this was a blindside,” one member of the team told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Prior to the team’s matchup on Wednesday night, the front office pulled Burks and Robinson from pre-game shootaround, signaling that the duo was going to be traded.