Former Indiana Pacers point guard Darren Collison, who retired from the NBA ahead of the 2019 free agency period in order to focus on his faith as a Jehovah’s Witness, is reportedly planning to return to life as an active player at some point next month.
In a report published on Wednesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the 32-year-old Collison is considering returning to the NBA in February, with both of his hometown teams — the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers — standing out as his preferred destinations, per unnamed league sources. This comes after several contending teams reportedly kept close tabs on the point guard’s situation, maintaining contact with multiple individuals, including his agent, BDA Sports’ Bill Duffy.
Given Collison’s erstwhile status as one of the top free-agent point guards prior to his June 2019 retirement, Wojnarowski added that his supposed preference to play for either the Lakers or Clippers could lead to another “recruiting showdown” between both Los Angeles teams. As of this writing, the Lakers remain on top of the Western Conference with a 26-7 record, while the Clippers aren’t too far behind, sitting at third place with 24 wins and 11 losses.
While Wojnarowski did not mention any specific date for Collison’s purported NBA comeback, he wrote that it’s unlikely that he will return to the court ahead of the league’s February 6 trade deadline. It was also pointed out that the Lakers and Clippers are also in the running for Memphis Grizzlies veteran wingman Andre Iguodala, who has yet to suit up for his new team after being acquired last summer from the Golden State Warriors.
Regarding how Collison might help if he gets signed by the Clippers or Lakers, CBS Sports noted that the veteran might have some difficulty earning a starting job with the former team, as Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams are established at the point guard position. As for the latter organization, the outlet noted that Collison might be an upgrade over incumbents Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso, though the Lakers are currently starting Avery Bradley — a natural shooting guard — at the point while allowing LeBron James to handle most of the playmaking chores.
Prior to his retirement, Collison played for five different NBA teams over 10 seasons, and notably suited up for the aforementioned Clippers in the 2013-14 campaign, per Basketball-Reference. The former first-round draft selection out of UCLA most recently played for the Pacers, averaging 11.2 points and six assists while shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from three-point range in 2018-19.