With free agency not beginning until 1st of July, there will be plenty of speculation about which players Danny Ainge will assemble for the 2013/14 roster over the next month. The man who created headlines around the world only a few weeks ago, Jason Collins, could be one player returning to Boston next season.
While he may not be the most glamorous basketballer to have played in the NBA, Jason Collins was highly regarded in his time with the Boston Celtics last year. After being traded to the Washington Wizards at the deadline this season with Leandro Barbosa in exchange for Jordan Crawford, it was revealed the Celtics didn’t want to include Collins in the deal. Chris Wilcox was originally included, but he used his Bird rights to stop the trade from happening.
Doc Rivers was full of praise when Collins was traded to Washington at the deadline, and voiced his feelings on multiple occasions about his departure. Rivers told Sports Illustrated in April:
“Losing him was hard for me because I just thought he was such a great teammate and such a great guy in the locker room. That’s what you want is those guys in your locker room. He just was honest. He was an honest teammate. He worked hard. He did anything you asked him to do. He accepted his role.”
Collins gained a reputation as a great teammate and locker room presence, a true professional. Looking into next season, CSNNE.com reported this at the beginning of April:
When asked if he would like to see him back in Boston, Rivers said, “I would love to have him all the time.”
And Collins has made no secret about “definitely” being open to a return to Boston next season if the C’s were still interested.
“Gotta put a no-trade clause in there,” quipped Collins
Danny Ainge told the Boston Herald:
“Jason was one of the most professional, hard-working guys that we had in our organization or that I’ve ever been around. He’s a class act and a real pro, and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring him back if I felt that his talents were needed for us to be successful.”
Although Jason Collins isn’t an NBA superstar on the court, he is a 12-year veteran and at 7 feet tall, the Celtics could use him for depth next season. He knows his role, to provide solid defense and clog up the paint, but if he is asked to ride the bench he won’t complain either. The man who wore #98 will also come cheap. After accepting the veteran’s minimum last season, I’m sure he would do the same again.
Finally from an off-the-court perspective, Collins is the first NBA player to acknowledge himself as gay. While it shouldn’t be an issue in any city, the fans of the Celtics are the type of people who support their players through anything. It would be great to follow Collins’ first season as an openly gay player with Boston. The support of his teammates, the head coach, the GM, and all fans of the C’s would be great for Jason Collins, for the Celtics franchise, and for the NBA.
Do you think the quiet and solid Jason Collins will return in green? Let us know what you think.