Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 7/9/13
Ever since NBA Center Jason Collins made his historic announcement a couple months ago, the question has been asked, will he actually play? Yes, we’ve broken through now to have an openly gay male athlete in one of the major team sports. Jason Collins the social trail blazer is accomplished and accepted. But what about Jason Collins the NBA five? He hasn’t set foot in a NBA locker room or court yet as an openly gay man. If he doesn’t, what does that mean for this sociopolitical sports milestone? Teams still need backup big men; whether that’s Jason Collins or not. From The Paper of Record: Now, a week into the N.B.A.’s summer signing period, he remains without a new team, and it could be weeks or even several months before he knows what his future holds. As he waits, he finds himself in a historic position as the first openly gay free agent seeking another contract. It is a moment being watched closely for its perceived sociological significance, although Collins himself is determined to keep his focus on basketball. “I look at it, honestly, like any other free agency in the past several years, where I know I have to stay patient,” said the 34-year-old Collins, who played in only 38 games last season, averaging 10 minutes a game as a defensive-minded center for Boston and later Washington. “And I know that at this point in my career, you remain hopeful that there’s a job and an opportunity waiting for you once teams start to fill out their rosters.” Jason Collins has not been a full-time starter in six years. His skills, modest even at his peak, are in decline. His age works against him, and even though his coming out was pretty much universally accepted, his profile as a NBA basketball player is not one in high demand. He won’t be a rotation guy, he’ll be a 14th or 15th player on the roster. Which puts him in a decent position- low risk, low reward. These types of players go much later in the free agent cycle- Late July to September. The big stars like Dwight Howard are taken off the market first. What likely happens is Jason Collins gets an invite to training camp for a struggling small market team. A franchise that’s endured a lot of losing lately and/or a team in need of publicity. Also, a city with a very large gay population would be a preferred destination. Signing Jason Collins would be an excellent choice for the aim of selling tickets in places like Golden State, Milwaukee and Minnesota. Or even the big market cities like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Of course, Jason Collins would likely find less playing time on the Bulls, Knicks or Lakers than he would on the Timberwolves, Bucks and Warriors. I think he’ll sign somewhere. Probably not an ultra-conservative place like Utah though. Collins also has an engaging warm personality that NBA teams love in the locker room; and in their end of the bench guys. So even if Jason Collins doesn’t sign in the next few weeks, couple months, there’s always the possibility that he’ll sign a 10-day contract with somebody. At that point his play in the league will become more ceremonial and marketing aimed than in trying to win basketball games, but it’s still worthwhile. Still a very important milestone. However, I don’t think it will come to that; I’m confident someone NBA team will sign Jason Collins to a one-year deal. It just may be a couple months before that happens. Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net. (“Quasi-endorsed” by Philadelphia Eagles Coach Chip Kelly) He’s also an author who contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. The NFL, NBA expert does a weekly spot for 95.7 The Fan. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks), like him on Facebook The post Who will sign Jason Collins? Timberwolves? Warriors? Bucks? appeared first on The Sports Bank.Net.
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