The Detroit Pistons have decided to pass on signing veteran free-agent center Jason Collins, according to an official in the team’s front office, Four months ago the 34-year-old center became the first active male in one of the four major North American team sports to announce he was gay. He recently worked out with the Pistons in the hope of filling out the end of their bench as a reserve.
The Pistons will obviously conduct physicals on any potential signee, but this sounds like they’re going a step further in evaluating players.
Josh Harrellson told Kentucky Sports Radio he had a Pistons workout planned (hat tip: Sean Corp of Detroit Bad Boys). Corp also reports someone claiming to be Harrellson’s cousin tweeted “Congrats to my cousin @BigJorts55 for signing with the Detroit pistons." That tweet has since been deleted, and it could be for a variety of reasons. My best guess: the cousin misunderstood the difference between getting a workout and a contract.
Someone claiming to be Hassan Whiteside’s cousin, Vincent Whiteside, also tweeted Whiteside tried out for the Pistons and Heat and will sign with the Pistons. It makes sense the Pistons would have interest in Hassan Whiteside, who has a 7-foot-7 wingspan and spent his first two professional seasons with the Kings before playing in the D-League and overseas last year. But I put no stock into the tweets of “Vincent,” who began tweeting yesterday and has zero followers. This doesn’t pass the smell test – not even close.
But, with Collins and Harrellson, we’re getting a clearer picture of the Pistons’ plan. Joe Dumars already said he wants to use the 15th and final roster spot on a big man, and it seems they also are giving players they like opportunities to prove themselves in a workout. That indicates there isn’t a single free agent available they’re gung-ho about signing and would rather learn more about other players. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Pistons invite multiple centers to training camp on non-guaranteed contracts and choose one during the preseason.