With the Los Angeles Lakers and pretty much every other team dealing with coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks in recent weeks, the NBA made some rule changes to allow them to sign players to 10-day contracts via the Hardship Exception in order to have enough players to compete.
The Lakers took full advantage of that by bringing in some veteran players that were actually capable of contributing, most notably Darren Collison and Stanley Johnson.
Collison is a player who has been linked to the Lakers for a while, although he ultimately decided to stay retired the last two years instead of playing for them.
With the team as shorthanded as it was though, they were able to lure Collison out of retirement on a 10-day contract right before their Christmas Day game against the Brooklyn Nets.
The 34-year-old appeared in three games during his 10 days with the Lakers, although with all of L.A.’s regular players now back from health and safety protocols, the team does not have the ability to give out 10-day Hardship Exception contracts.
There was a slight possibility that the Lakers would give Collison a longer look by signing him for the rest of the season or a regular 10-day contract on Jan. 5 if they could clear another roster spot, but it appears that won’t be the case.
Collison took to Instagram to thank the Lakers organization for the opportunity as he moves on to his next chapter:
Perhaps the most interesting part of Collison’s post is that it seems he wants to keep playing as opposed to going back into retirement. With plenty of other teams still dealing with COVID outbreaks, it’s possible that he latches on somewhere on another 10-day Hardship Exception contract.
Even though Collison didn’t show much in his short time with the Lakers, averaging just 1.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 12.3 minutes per game, it’s hard to take much away from it given how small the sample size is. Also, Collison hadn’t played NBA basketball in two years, so it’s logical to think that given more time and conditioning, his level of play will increase if given the opportunity.
Westbrook enjoyed reunion with Collison
One of the coolest parts of Collison getting to play for the Lakers was that it reunited him with Russell Westbrook, who he shared a backcourt with at UCLA more than a decade ago.
Westbrook recently spoke about how happy he was to get to play with Collison again.
“It’s great to see him back in the NBA,” Westbrook said. “He’s a good friend of mine, we’ve talked throughout the years when he was out the league and obviously during the league, competing against each other. Competing with each other in college and now with the Lakers back in L.A., it’s great.
“Especially when you know it’s someone that’s been out of the league and he was trying to figure out if he wanted to come back and he’s back now and it’s good to have him in the locker room and his energy back around. It’s good to see him.”
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