Despite the recruiting push from the Los Angeles Lakers and interest from other teams, Darren Collison won’t be returning to the NBA this season.
Collison, the free agent point guard who played the last two seasons with the Indiana Pacers before abruptly retiring in the summer, will remain retired, USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt confirmed. Collison, 32, informed teams Sunday that he isn’t ready to return to the NBA and remains unsure if he ever will.
Collison attended the Lakers’ game Friday night at Staples Center and sat in a second-row seat near controlling owner Jeanie Buss. During the third quarter, the arena scoreboard zoomed in on Collison, eliciting a cheer from the Los Angeles crowd.
“I’m just here to watch the game,” Collison told USA TODAY Sports on his way out of the arena.
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He may have been there just to take in a game, but the Lakers clearly coveted Collison. So did the Clippers, who also reportedly wanted to add Collison’s ball-handling and shooting to their bench rotation. Collison was one of few notable free agents available. With the trade deadline passed, the Lakers, Clippers and other contenders will turn to the buyout market to bolster their rosters for the postseason.
Collison suddenly announced his retirement before free agency this past summer, citing religious reasons. He had been considering a comeback with either of the Los Angeles teams in February or March.
“While I still love basketball, I know there is something more important, which is my family and my faith,” Collison told The Undefeated in June. “I am one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and my faith means everything to me. I receive so much joy from volunteering to help others and participate in a worldwide ministry. The joy I feel is unmatched.”
Chosen with 21st pick of the 2009 draft by the New Orleans Hornets, he played for five teams in 10 seasons, including two stints with the Pacers. Collison has career averages of 12.5 points, 5.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game on 47.1% shooting overall and 39.4% from 3-point range.
Contributing: Jeff Zillgitt.
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