Since the end of the season for the Los Angeles Clippers, it has been widely reported that Darren Collison will opt out of his current deal to become a free agent. In an interview with Inside UCLA, Collison went into further detail about why he made the decision.
“It’s just my value went up. I understand that. But I don’t want it to affect my decision with the Clippers. I want to be with the Clippers. Hopefully, the upper management can do something, figure something out, but I just think this is a good chance to be with a team for three or four years, try to something special. I think the organization deserves it.”
After struggling during his lone season with the Dallas Mavericks, Collison was forced to sell low on his value, signing a two-year deal with the Clippers worth $3.8 million. And it’s safe to say he’s outplayed his current price tag. Throughout the year, Collison provided consistent play in the reserve role, but he made his money’s worth in the starting lineup when Chris Paul sat with injury. In a stretch from January to mid-February, Collison averaged 13.3 points on 47 percent shooting, 6.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game as a start. In the same span, the Clippers posted a record of 8-5.
Looking at the list of free agent point guards, Collison falls in the third or fourth tier of guards:
First Tier: Kyle Lowry, Eric Bledsoe
Second Tier: Isaiah Thomas, Ramon Sessions
Third Tier: Greivis Vasquez, Patty Mills, Shaun Livingston
Fourth Tier: Mario Chalmers, Mo Williams, Jordan Farmar, Darren Collison, etc.
With so much depth at the point guard position, current roster build and the NBA Draft included, it’s hard to see Collison turning his career year into the profit once usually chases after. Of course based on Collison’s comments, the actual length of the contract seems to matter more than the salary, and there could be many teams that sign Darren four the length he’s looking for.
For the Clippers, the decision to bring Collison back depends on whom else they can sign and who they draft. If they go point guard in the draft, Collison won’t be back. If they look to upgrade the position, maybe looking at Ramon Sessions or Shaun Livingston with the full mid-level, the same applies.
But if Doc Rivers and company think Collison is the perfect player to backup Chris Paul as the Clippers seek to win a championship, then they’ll have a secure fallback option if they strike out on superior players.