Since revealing himself as the first openly gay male athlete in an American team sport in an April piece for Sports Illustrated, Jason Collins has received a call from Barack Obama, conducted dozens of interviews, and marched in Boston's gay pride parade. The unrestricted free-agent center hasn't, however, signed a contract to play in the NBA next season.
The Detroit Pistons have expressed exploratory interest in signing free-agent center Jason Collins, according to sources close to the process. Sources stressed to ESPN.com that, while no formal offer has been made, Detroit has opened a dialogue with Collins, who in late April became the first openly gay athlete in North America's four traditional major sports leagues.
Collins, 34, was a first-round pick in 2001 after spending four years at Stanford. His career has included stops with the Nets, Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Hawks, Celtics and Wizards, and the 7-footer, known for his low-post defense and unselfish play, holds career averages of 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds. He was traded by Boston to Washington back in February and averaged 1.1 points and 1.6 rebounds in 38 appearances last season.
He addressed his impending free agency in April.
“Now I’m a free agent, literally and figuratively,” Collins wrote. “I’ve reached that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want. And what I want is to continue to play basketball. I still love the game, and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and truthful.”
Detroit is set to field a "jumbo-ball" starting frontcourt featuring Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Past that trio, though, the Pistons' big man rotation includes only Charlie Villanueva and rookie Tony Mitchell. Detroit currently has one open roster spot.
Jon Wertheim has more on how Collins’ announcement came together in Sports Illustrated.