The Pistons showed interest in signing Wizards free agent Jason Collins, until they didn't.
One of the Eastern Conference non-playoff teams making aggressive moves this offseason, Detroit passed on adding the free agent center, Sports Illustrated reported on Sunday. The report cites a front office source, but the author of this post also helped Collins break his own story four months ago when the 34-year-old became the first active male in one of the four major North American team sports to announce he was gay.
Of course, the "active" part is relative until a team inks the 12-year veteran to a contract since the revelation came after last season.
In recent years, Collins' role has been that of deep reserve who can set picks and draw fouls when needed. There is home for that type of player, especially from title or playoff contending teams, but not a screaming demand either. Most NBA training camps are around six weeks or so from opening so plenty of time remains for a team to show Collins more than just passing interest.
The Pistons added free agent forward Josh Smith and point guard Brandon Jennings to the interior tandem of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. The 6-foot-10 Collins would provide Detroit with defense and six fouls as needed. His presence would not change any team projections, which have the Motor City crew battling the Wizards and a handful of other teams for one of the conference's final playoff berths.
As for a return to Washington, it seemed highly unlikely even from the moment the Wizards acquired him from the Celtics in a deal for Jordan Crawford. It still does especially since there isn't actually a roster spot to spare after Al Harrington's signing brought the roster to full capacity with 15 members. It still would even if the team opened space by trading one of their frontcourt options elsewhere.
Then again, the playoff-pushing Wizards would arguably be better off with a third center, even one with no scoring prowess, rather than a plethora of young forwards whose respective NBA roles remain rather undefined. Teammates last year praised Collins' ability to set screens in the context of helping the team produce points even if said points rarely came directly under the names Collins. Since many assume Nene will miss a chunk of the season at some point for some ailment, why not have another big man option.
Until or if the Wizards make another move that opens up a roster spot, there is nothing to ponder. Even then, not so much, or even a little.