After failing to obtain Jordan Hill from the Los Angeles Lakers before the trade deadline, the Brooklyn Nets have set their sights on acquiring a big man through free agency. On Thursday, Billy King revealed that the Nets worked out former-Net center Jason Collins during the All-Star break, and are considering signing him to a ten-day contract.
“He's obviously on the list,” GM Billy King said, according to the New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy. “We're looking at any guy guys that are free agents and he's one of the guys, but we've got other guys that we're going to look at. (Jason Kidd) and I will visit tomorrow, he's got the list, I've got the list, ownership has got the list ... we're going to look at it and try to find the best guy possible for us.”
King said he personally did not attend the workout, but the report he received said that Collins is “in shape”.
Collins, who averaged 4.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in six and a half seasons with the New Jersey Nets, made headlines last April when he announced he was gay, becoming the first openly gay athlete in America’s four major sports. The 34-year old big man hasn’t played since the announcement, meaning the next time he steps on an NBA court will be a huge moment for sports.
King emphasized that the interest in Collins is by no means a publicity stunt, saying:
"We are going to bring in a basketball player. "It's not about marketing or anything like that. We are bringing in a player for the short term to help our basketball team. It's not about marketing. We are beyond doing something for gimmicks. We are trying to get a guy in who can play basketball at this point. That's my focus."
The 12-year veteran last played for the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards in the 2012-2013 season, averaging 1.1 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. For his career, he averages 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Billy King also said Collins wasn’t the only big man they were looking at:
"We will look at anybody that's a free agent that's big that's out there," King said. "We will look at anybody in the D-League that's big. We are going to look at guys coming back from China and we will explore all of them.”
The Brooklyn Game’s Devin Kharpertian provided a group of bigs currently playing in China, a list which includes another former Net:
Notable bigs in China right now: Shelden Williams, Ivan Johnson, D.J. White, Josh Powell, Earl Barron.
— devin kharpertian (@uuords) February 20, 2014
Rebounding has been a glaring weakness for the Nets this year. For the season, their total rebounding percentage is 47.7%, third worst in the league. They set an NBA record for least rebounds in a game (17) in a January 31 blowout loss to the Thunder, and, on Wednesday, they traded their best rebounder, Reggie Evans. While a newly-signed big man, whether it be Jason Collins or any of those other players, won’t completely fix the rebounding woes, having another big body in the frontcourt certainly wouldn’t hurt.