The Brooklyn Nets are interested in bringing back former player Jason Collins, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. It's a free agent signing with much larger social implications than basketball implications now that Collins is the first active openly gay player in NBA history.
As far as roster fits go for Collins, there couldn't be a match much more perfect than Brooklyn. Collins played for the team for the Nets during the first seven years of his career when they were in New Jersey -- including the team's two Eastern Conference Championships in 2002 and 2003. He played alongside Jason Kidd, now the franchise's new coach, and under Lawrence Frank, now an assistant coach. He'd also be joining a pair of last season's teammates in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce after the blockbuster draft-night trade took the Celtics' pair to Brooklyn. Additionally, Collins' defensive mindset fits perfectly with the veteran mentality the Nets will have following their latest eal.
Collins announced in April that he was gay, becoming the first active player to do so in one of the major four American sports, but the question remained about whether or not Collins would ever actually take the floor again. He's 34 and played sparingly between the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards last season, averaging just 1.1 points and 1.6 defensive rebounds.
The market for a defensive-minded player with Collins' skillset was already slim and some feared it might become even more so after his historic announcement. The reaction to Collins' news was overwhelmingly positive across the NBA and the world of sports in general, though, with some speculating it could even improve his chances of signing with a team. It genuinely seems like the Nets might be interested in Collins for fit and his basketball talent, however, rather than hoopla.
Collins should have the support of his coach and teammates, too, which is going to be important in his next city.
Potential head coach Jason Kidd told the New York Daily News that Collins reached out to him as his decision went public, and although the news caught him off guard, he had nothing but praise for his friend's courage. Pierce said he spoke to Collins even before the news broke, saying that what Collins did was "a great thing" while Garnett said he was "just happy for him being able to be himself."