Green Target: Jason Collins

A return of #98?
Jason Collins played in 32 games for the Celtics last year, starting at center in 7 of them (with minimal success).  He averaged 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in just over 10 minutes per game before being dealt to Washington at the trade deadline as part of the Jordan Crawford deal.  Collins appeared in just 6 contests for the Wizards, and is now an unrestricted free agent.

On Tuesday I wrote a Green Target post suggesting Boston bring back Greg Stiemsma, but yesterday he signed with New Orleans.  The return of Collins to the C's makes sense for a lot of the same reasons that Stiemsma did.

Collins would come cheap, he made the league minimum last year.  And if finishing in the draft lottery is what Danny Ainge has in mind, Collins is not a guy who's going adversely effect that with his play.  He's 34 years old with a very limited skill set, and likely wouldn't see much court time anyway.  As currently constructed the Celtics roster has virtually no NBA experience at center (see the Stiemsma article), so bringing in a 12 year veteran of the position might be a worthwhile addition.  When Boston traded Collins back in February Doc Rivers made it clear that he was sad to see him go, specifically praising him for his outstanding presence in the locker room.

From a basketball standpoint, there is no doubt Jason Collins would be a great guy to have around on a young rebuilding team.  However, signing him this offseason would also be unlike any free agent acquisition in NBA history.  On the off chance you went backpacking in the Himalayas this spring and were completely off the grid, Collins announced that he is gay.  At least in the beginning, whichever organization he signs with will probably become the Jason Collins show.  He may well be the lead story at the start of the season, and each time his team visits a new city.

While this might be considered a distraction for some ball clubs, for the 2013-2014 Boston Celtics it could be a blessing in disguise.  The outlook for the men in green next year appears a little bleak at the moment, and anything that diverts attention away from the words "tanking" and "rebuilding" is definitely a positive.  I'm not saying Boston should sign Collins for this reason, I would have happily written this piece with only the first three paragraphs.  But if the Celtics have the opportunity to be pioneers in their field, why not take it?

More of our Green Target 2013 series here.

Follow Mark on twitter @LucidSportsFan