The Detroit Pistons have decided to pass on signing veteran free-agent center Jason Collins, according to an official in the team's front office, Four months ago the 34-year-old center became the first active male in one of the four major North American team sports to announce he was gay. He recently worked out with the Pistons in the hope of filling out the end of their bench as a reserve.
Collins came out of the closet in a Sports Illustrated cover story during the opening round of this year's NBA playoffs. He hasn't played since the revelation, which means the first time he steps onto the court next season will be a trailblazing event.
The 7-foot journeyman played in 38 games during the 2012-'13 campaign as a defensive specialist for the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards. He averaged less than two points and two rebounds in about 10 minutes a game.
Collins was being considered by the Pistons as for insurance for young big men Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. The team finished last season 11th in the Eastern Conference with a 29-53 record that cost coach Lawrence Frank his job. Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars replaced Frank with Maurice Cheeks,added top-tier free-agent forward Josh Smith, brought back guard Chauncey Billups, and agreed to acquire point guard Brandon Jennings from the Milwaukee Bucks in a sign-and-trade deal for point guard Brandon Knight, forward Khris Middleton and center Slava Kravtsov. Collins would have taken Kravtsov's spot on the roster.
Drafted out of Stanford by the New Jersey Nets in 2001, Collins has also played with the Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves and Atlanta Hawks. With NBA training camps set to open at the end of September, he's currently training in his hometown of Los Angeles, awaiting an invitation from another NBA team.