Retired NBA point guard Darren Collison attended the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on Thursday, where he was spotted at courtside, sitting next to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss. While this sighting sparked speculation that he might be officially ending his retirement and signing with Los Angeles as a free agent, Collison was also quick to deny these rumors when speaking to an ESPN reporter.
As quoted by Bleacher Report early on Friday morning, Collison kept things short and sweet when he explained to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin the reason why he attended Thursday night’s game, where the Lakers lost to the Rockets, 121-111.
“Just watching the game. Ain’t nothing to it. Got the best seats in the house.”
Despite still being in the prime of his career at the time, Collison announced his retirement in the summer of 2019, citing his desire to focus on his faith and family. This came after he spent a 10-year professional basketball career with five NBA teams, including one stint each with the New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers, and Sacramento Kings, and two stops with the Indiana Pacers, per Basketball-Reference.
“While I still love basketball, I know there is something more important, which is my family and my faith,” he said in a statement upon announcing his decision, as quoted by Bleacher Report. “I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and my faith means everything to me.”
Darren Collison has been working out and has interest in playing in the League again, per @BA_Turner.
What team should sign him?pic.twitter.com/RGVMqBLdD7
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) February 5, 2020
In his last season before retiring, Collison averaged 11.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and six assists for the Indiana Pacers in 2018-19. He had also developed into an accurate shooter from long range, shooting at least 40 percent from three-point territory in each of the last four seasons of his career. This included a 2016-17 season where his 46.8 percent clip from beyond the arc led the entire NBA.
Although both Los Angeles teams — the Lakers and the Clippers — have been linked to Collison since it was first rumored that he plans to make a comeback at some point this season, most signs have pointed to the 32-year-old favoring the purple and gold, especially considering the Lakers’ perceived weakness at the point guard position.
Shortly before the NBA’s trade deadline hit at 3 p.m. on Thursday, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor tweeted that per league sources, the expectation is that Collison will choose the Lakers over the Clippers. He noted that this is a “reasonable” scenario as the latter team had just bolstered its point guard rotation by acquiring Isaiah Thomas from the Washington Wizards.