LOS ANGELES – Usually, NBA teams operate behind the scenes with making roster moves. This time, the Lakers displayed their intentions publicly.
The arena scoreboard zoomed in on free-agent guard Darren Collison in a second-row seat near Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss during the third quarter of the team’s 121-111 loss to the Houston Rockets on Thursday at Staples Center.
“I’m just here to watch the game,” Collison told USA TODAY Sports on his way out of the arena. Collison may have just been there to watch the game, but the Lakers may have hosted Collison in hopes to sign him.
The Lakers didn’t to make any moves before the NBA trade deadline on Thursday partly because they have the Western Conference’s best record (38-12). They also did so knowing that Collison could be available.
He had retired from the NBA last year, citing religious reasons. Nonetheless, the Lakers and the Clippers still have interest in the 32-year-old Collison, who averaged 12.5 points on 47.1 percent shooting and 5.0 assists in 10 NBA seasons.
The Lakers have been interested in bolstering their point guard position, which includes Alex Caruso, Rajon Rondo and Quinn Cook. LeBron James and Avery Bradley have also assumed ball-handling duties.
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The Lakers said little about Collison. Lakers forward Anthony Davis said he “had no reaction” when he saw Collison at the game. James deflected a question on whether Collison would be a good fit.
“I don’t know. I don’t like talking fantasy basketball,” James said. “I’m never one to talk fantasy basketball. We’ll see what happens. But I don’t really have too much to comment on that one.”
Despite the Lakers’ interest, they have mostly been satisfied with their start. Even when accounting for James and Davis, Lakers coach Frank Vogel conceded he felt the team exceeded expectations this season with “how quickly the chemistry came together.”
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