Darren Collison's retirement was one of the most surprising moves of the offseason. Collison, then only 31 years old, was expected to receive a big contract as one of the best point guards on the free-agent market, but instead announced his retirement in an open letter on The Undefeated to focus on his family and his faith as a Jehovah's Witness. Now, however, he seems open to changing his mind.
Collison is considering a return to the NBA in February, with the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers serving as his preferred destinations, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The timing would seemingly be based on a desire to see what moves teams make at the trade deadline before committing to a destination. Collison is a Southern California native and played collegiately at UCLA, so if remaining close to his family is a priority, the Lakers and Clippers would make sense.
Collison previously played for the Clippers during the 2013-14 season, and has also played for the then-New Orleans Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and Dallas Mavericks. He had spent his final two NBA seasons with the Pacers in his second stint with the team, developing into an ideal role player for a contender.
Though initially a fairly mediocre shooter, Collison led the NBA in 3-point percentage during the 2017-18 campaign by making almost 47 percent of his attempts. He was again above 40 percent last season, though his volume was relatively low as he tends to only shoot when open. He is also an effective pick-and-roll player, scoring 0.92 points per possession as the ball-handler on such plays last season, which would put him in the 72nd percentile league-wide.
Both the Lakers and the Clippers have multiple point guards playing big minutes. Displacing either Patrick Beverley or Lou Williams would be difficult for Collison, and while Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso aren't quite as secure in their roles, the Lakers don't seem to be in a hurry to bench either of them or Avery Bradley, who is effectively the team's starter at that position even as LeBron James runs the offense.
Still, Collison is the sort of player that teams would gladly accommodate midway through a season. Players of his caliber practically never become available in free agency beyond the summer, so even if it required reconfiguring their rotations a bit, both the Lakers and Clippers would likely be thrilled to add Collison. And if not? He will have no shortage of suitors elsewhere around the league.