Jason Collins

Cap Notes: Lakers, Zubac, Crabbe, Lin, Nets

In the past, NBA teams have often kept free agents’ rights on their books long after those players have retired — teams that never went below the cap had no reason to renounce those players, since their cap holds often helped teams avoid losing trade exceptions and full mid-level exceptions. However, with the salary cap jumping to $94MM+ this season, only a few teams have avoided going below the cap, which means more and more of those free agents who have retired or been out of the NBA for multiple seasons are being renounced.

As Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders notes (via Twitter), the Nets did just that this week with players – or former players – like Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Collins, and Andray Blatche, renouncing those cap holds to help clear cap room.

Here are a few more cap-related notes and updates from around the NBA:

  • The Lakers renounced a notable free agent of their own, officially removing Kobe Bryant from their books, per RealGM.com. Bryant had a maximum-salary cap hold following his final NBA season, so Los Angeles had little choice but to renounce it if the team wanted to make use of its cap room.
  • Lakers second-round pick Ivica Zubac got two guaranteed seasons on his three-year deal, per Pincus, who tweets that Zubac will earn salaries worth $1.03MM, $1.08MM, and $1.13MM, respectively.
  • Allen Crabbe‘s offer sheet with the Nets is worth $18.5MM in its first, second, and fourth years, with a third-year salary of $19.3MM, according to Pincus (Twitter links). The deal, which the Trail Blazers could match, also has a fourth-year player option, a 15% trade kicker, and “significant payment advances.”
  • Pincus also provides the details on Jeremy Lin‘s new contract with the Nets, tweeting that it features a third-year player option, a 10% trade kicker, and $2.3MM in unlikely bonuses on top of the $36MM base value.
  • We’ll be updating our full list of traded player exceptions soon, once all of the recently-reported trades become official, but we can expect many of the TPEs on that list to disappear. As Bobby Marks of The Vertical tweets, the Cavaliers, Thunder, and Clippers may end up being the only teams with trade exceptions when the dust settles.

Nets Rumors: Kidd, King, Collins

Jason Kidd‘s controversial leap from the Nets to the Bucks this summer is a flashpoint for an issue that new union executive director Michele Roberts would like to resolve, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com details. The union has a rule that bars player agents from representing coaches or executives so that no agent is ever representing people on both sides of the negotiating table, but it’s rarely enforced, as Roberts and agents who spoke with Berger contend. Kidd said that his player agent, Jeff Schwartz, had a role in negotiations for him this summer, as Berger points out. Sources tell Berger that Schwartz kept the Kidd talks separate from discussions surrounding Schwartz clients Shaun Livingston and Paul Pierce, who also left the Nets this summer, but the conflict of interest nonetheless troubles Roberts and others.

“We can’t allow the status quo to remain, i.e. people to act in defiance of the rule because the rule is the rule,” Roberts said. “But I also want to try to do it in a way that makes sense for everyone. If it appears that the rule is not something that we can work around, then it’s time to enforce it.”

There’s more on the Nets and their former coach in the wake of Milwaukee’s three-overtime win Wednesday in Brooklyn:

  • Kidd cited rumors that the Nets thought about firing him during last season as reason for his distrust of the organization, but in reality the Nets were highly supportive of the first-year coach, writes Chris Mannix of SI.com.
  • Mannix, writing in the same piece, hears from a Nets official who’s curious whether Kidd knew he would join the Bucks when the coach suggested during a meeting of Nets brass in June, while he was still working for Brooklyn, that the Nets trade Brook Lopez for Larry Sanders. In any case, Nets GM Billy King rejected the idea of such a swap.
  • Kidd insisted Wednesday that he never tried to convince the Nets to promote him above King, despite reports to the contrary this summer, but the Bucks coach added that he didn’t have much of a relationship with King last year, Newsday’s Roderick Boone observes.
  • Jason Collins admits that he knew this past summer that he wanted to retire but decided to wait to make an announcement until Wednesday’s meeting of Kidd’s Bucks and the Nets because of his respect for Kidd, a former teammate and coach, Boone notes.

Jason Collins Retires

Jason Collins has decided to retire, detailing his thoughts in a first-person account for Sports Illustrated. Collins made history last season as the first openly gay athlete to play in either the NBA, National Football League or Major League Baseball. The 35-year-old veteran of 13 NBA seasons will make a formal announcement today at the Barclays Center, as he writes in his essay for the magazine.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn NetsCollins spent the second half of last season with the Nets, who signed him in February to the first of a pair of 10-day contracts before inking him on March 15th for the rest of the season. The 7’0″ center cites the support of Jason Kidd as key to his tenure, as he writes in Sports Illustrated, and Collins presumably chose to make his announcement today in Brooklyn to coincide with Kidd’s return there for the first time as Bucks coach after he coached the Nets last year.

Kidd put Collins into 22 games last year, including one start, but he saw just 7.8 minutes per appearance, and he didn’t make it into any of Brooklyn’s postseason contests. Collins said in May that he wasn’t sure he wanted to continue his playing career, and an August report indicated that he would likely walk away from the professional game.

Collins came out as a homosexual after the 2012/13 season, one in which he played 38 games split between the Celtics and Wizards. He languished as a free agent throughout the summer and well into the season as speculation swirled about whether any team would sign him and invite the media attention that would follow. Such worries turned out to be unfounded as his presence on the Nets largely became an afterthought soon after the team signed him, as Collins details in a longer piece on his retirement for The Players’ Tribune.

He was never a household name throughout the majority of his playing career despite having played a prominent role on back-to-back Eastern Conference championship teams with the Nets in 2001/02 and 2002/03. Collins didn’t make it back to the Finals after doing so the first two years of his career, but he became well-known to NBA front offices as a rugged defender capable of going toe-to-toe with the league’s elite inside scorers. He played for the Grizzlies, Timberwolves and Hawks in addition to his time with the Nets, Celtics and Wizards, averaging 3.6 points and 3.7 rebounds in 20.4 minutes per game over his 13 seasons, numbers that belied his work on the defensive end. The Arn Tellem client collected nearly $34.2MM in salary as an NBA player, according to Basketball-Reference.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jason Collins Mulling Retirement

After making history last season as the NBA’s first active openly gay player, Jason Collins is likely through with playing professional basketball, writes Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group.  In front of a crowd of ~600 people on Monday night at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre, the 35-year-old acknowledged that, athletically, his best years are probably behind him.

I used to be able to jump and touch the top of the white square behind the rim with ease,” Collins said. “As the years go by, you watch your hand go lower and lower on that square. Father Time is undefeated against us all. … I’m really grateful for my Stanford degree now. On the other hand, I can still dunk.”

Collins began his career with the Nets and experienced success right from the get go, helping New Jersey to back-to-back Eastern Conference Championships in his first two seasons.  The big man would start 404 regular season games for the Nets in six-and-a-half seasons and also cashed in on a very lucrative second contract with the club.  In total, Collins has earned upwards of $34MM over the course of his career (according to Basketball-Reference) and has appeared in 95 playoff games.

In his stint last season with Brooklyn, Collins averaged 1.1 PPG and 0.9 RPG across 22 late season games.  Even though Collins was a consummate teammate and a quality low-post defender during his NBA career, his legacy will extend far beyond what he accomplished on the hardwood.

Eastern Notes: Celtics, Hawks, Knicks

The Celtics are trying to make significant upgrades, but it doesn’t look like they’ll lunge at just any deal, as sources tell Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald that the team is prepared to suffer through another mediocre season if it can’t make a major acquisition.

More from the east:

  • Al Horford won’t play for the Dominican Republic National Team this summer but is expected ready in time for the Hawks training camp, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Horford is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle that he suffered in December.
  • The Hawks have shown interest in possibly signing free agents Spencer Hawes, Trevor Ariza, and Jordan Hill, tweets Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio (Twitter link).
  • Tim Bontemps of The New York Post takes a look back at the season of Nets center Jason Collins. In 22 games, he averaged 1.1 PPG and 0.9 RPG in 7.8 minutes per contest.
  • Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com looks at what the Knicks would need to do in order to have a shot at luring LeBron James to New York if he doesn’t opt out of his deal this summer and instead becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2015.
  • The Sixers need to focus on becoming a more attractive destination for free agents if they want to continue their rebuilding process, writes Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Nets Links: Livingston, Collins, Bogdanovic

Shaun Livingston will almost certainly receive better offers than the $3.278MM taxpayer’s mid-level to which the Nets will be limited, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The 28-year-old guard said today that he’d like to re-sign with Brooklyn, as Newsday’s Rod Boone observes, making clear a desire at which he’d hinted earlier, and while he added that money isn’t necessarily a priority, it seems he’ll have to turn some down to remain in Brooklyn (Twitter link). Here’s more from the Nets:

  • Jason Collins, whose contract doesn’t carry over into next season, isn’t sure he wants to continue playing, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com observes. The 35-year-old made history this season as the first openly gay athlete in major North American pro sports.
  • report earlier this week indicated that the Nets don’t expect to sign draft-and-stash forward Bojan Bogdanovic anytime soon, but GM Billy King said today that Bogdanovic will be an “option” for the team this summer, Boone tweets.
  • The Nets are without a pick in next month’s draft, but King indicated the team will consider trading for one, Boone adds via Twitter.
  • The Nets biggest disappointment has been Deron Williams, writes Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. A Brooklyn official tells Beck that the potential for Williams to return to All-Star form next season is the true “X-factor” for their contention hopes, and Beck wonders if the team could even retool and trade away the 29-year-old this offseason.

Cray Allred contributed to this post.

Nets Sign Jason Collins For Rest Of Season

SATURDAY, 8:07am: The deal is official per a team release. Terms of the contract have not been released, but it is most likely a pro-rated deal for the veteran’s minimum.

FRIDAY, 11:32pm: It’s still not official, but Nets coach Jason Kidd confirmed to reporters, including Rod Boone of Newsday (on Twitter), that the club will sign Collins for the rest of the season once his 10-day expires.

TUESDAY, 7:15pm: The Nets plan to sign center Jason Collins for the rest of the season once his second 10-day deal expires on Friday, writes Ohm Youngmisuk and Marc Stein of ESPN.com. TNT’s David Aldridge (via Twitter) first reported the likelihood of a deal earlier this evening.

Brooklyn is reportedly operating under the premise that the 34-year-old center will finish the season as a Net even though he’s still a few days away from completing his current deal. According to Youngmisuk and Stein’s sources, the internal expectation from the moment that Collins signed his first 10-day contract was that he’d remain with the team for the rest of 2013/14 as long as he proved he could still be an effective defender, and did so immediately.

The Arn Tellem client has played a total of eight games since joining the Nets this season, averaging 9.8 MPG and shooting 28.6% from the field.

Nets Re-Sign Jason Collins To 10-Day Contract

WEDNESDAY, 9:12am: The Nets have officially signed Collins to a second 10-day deal, the team announced.

MARCH 3RD: The Nets will sign Collins to a second 10-day contract, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The signing will take place Wednesday, the day after his first deal ends.

FEBRUARY 27TH: Jason Collins is only four days and a pair of games into his first 10-day contract with the Nets, but it appears the team is ready to make a fuller commitment to the 35-year-old center. Brooklyn is “all but certain” to re-sign Collins for the rest of the season, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. It’s not clear whether a contract for the balance of 2013/14 would come at the expiration of his current 10-day deal, or after the team issues him a second 10-day contract.

Collins made history shortly after signing Sunday when he entered Brooklyn’s game against the Lakers, becoming the first openly gay athlete to play in one of the four major North American professional sports. He’s had much less of an impact in box scores, having yet to tally a single point while grabbing just two rebounds in 18 total minutes. Still, Collins has long been known mostly for his inside presence and screen-setting, and has yet to reach 100 total points in any season since 2007/08.

The Nets still have an open roster spot even after the addition of Collins, so keeping him for the season won’t do much to hamper the team’s flexibility. Brooklyn is more than $30MM over the tax line, meaning the team is in line to pay $4.75 in tax for each dollar it spends. That didn’t stop the Nets from pursuing Jordan Hill and his $3.5MM salary before the trade deadline, so they probably won’t blink at what would likely be a minimum-salary arrangement for Collins that covers the rest of the season.

Reactions To Jason Collins Signing With Nets

Earlier today, the Nets and Jason Collins made history together when the center inked a 10-day deal to become the first openly gay athlete in one of America’s four major leagues.  Collins, 35, has been out of the NBA since completing the 2012/13 season with the Wizards but he should bring hard-nosed defense and veteran leadership to the 25-28 Nets.  Here’s a look at some of the latest reaction and fallout..

  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers admitted to reporters, including Jeff Caplan of NBA.com (via Twitter), that he’s been in contact with the big man about playing with Los Angeles.  Rivers, who is expected to officially add Glen Davis to his roster later today, says he’s happy for Collins and glad to see him join Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in Brooklyn.
  • Newly-minted commish Adam Silver issued a statement on the signing this afternoon.  “Jason told us that his goal was to earn another contract with an NBA team,” Silver said. “Today, I want to commend him on achieving his goal. I know everyone in the NBA family is excited for him and proud that our league fosters an inclusive and respectful environment.”
  • Collins’ deal may be making history, but Nets GM Billy King is insistent that it wasn’t about breaking barriers.  “The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision,” King said in the press release. “We needed to increase our depth inside, and with his experience and size, we felt he was the right choice for a 10-day contract.”
  • Mark Madsen, Collins’ former teammate at Stanford, had dinner with the newest Net a few months ago and was struck by how good of shape he was in, tweets Bill Oram of the Orange County Register.  The Nets are getting a “skilled leader, a skilled defender for a bargain price,” said the former center (link).
  • Since the news broke Thursday the Nets were a potential landing spot for Collins, every player on the team has been uniform in agreeing Collins would be welcomed with open arms, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post.
  • Sam Amick of USA Today notes that Collins has built up a reputation as a classy professional over the course of his career.

Jason Collins Signs 10-Day Contract With Nets

2:16pm: The Nets announced the deal via press release, making it official.

12:07pm: Jason Collins has reached an agreement on a 10-day contract with the Nets, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. This makes Collins the first openly gay athlete to play in one of the four major professional sports. Collins revealed he is a homosexual after finishing last season with the Wizards. According to Wojnarowski, Collins will be in uniform and available to play tonight against the Lakers at the Staples Center.MLB: Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers

After Glen Davis decided to sign with the Clippers, the Nets moved onto Plan B, which was bringing Collins back into the NBA, according to the article. Financial details have not been disclosed, nor has the team officially announced the signing. Collins is represented by Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group.

Collins, 35, has been out of the NBA since completing the 2012/13 season with the Wizards. Collins played parts of seven years with the Nets between 2001-08, and his ex-teammate, Jason Kidd, now the Nets coach, has been in favor of signing him. Collins played with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce with the Celtics during the 2012/2013 season, and both players have been advocates for bringing him to Brooklyn.

In 713 career games, the 35-year old has averaged 3.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 0.9 APG, in 20.8 MPG. The Nets have been in search of a big man since before the trade deadline passed on Thursday, and that need was heightened after sending Reggie Evans to the Kings as part of the trade that brought Marcus Thornton to Brooklyn.

Zach Links contributed to this post.  Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.