NBA Rumors: Latest on Jason Collins, Eric Bledsoe and NBPA

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - May 20:  Courage Award recipient Jason Collins of the Washington Wizards speaks on stage at the tenth annual 2013 GLSEN Respect Awards which honors extraordinary allies in our safe schools as well as those who serve as strong role models for our nations youth on May 20, 2013 at Gotham Hall in New York City .  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE  (Photo by Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The 2013-14 NBA season has just gotten underway, but off-the-court rumors are flying in at midseason form.

Whispers about unemployed potential contributors, contract issues following the passing of Thursday’s extension deadline and even the void National Basketball Players Association executive director job have made the rounds this week.

Here is the latest.

 

Jason Collins Reportedly not Interested in D-League, Overseas

Jason Collins made national headlines this year by becoming the first publicly gay athlete in North America’s four major team sports, but he still has not been granted the opportunity to lace it up for an NBA team this season.

CENTURY CITY, CA - MAY 19:  Pro basketball player Jason Collins speaks onstage after receiving the Inspirational Athlete of the Year Award at the 28th Anniversary Sports Spectacular Gala at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on May 19, 2013 in Century City,
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Sources revealed to Marc Stein of ESPN.com that Collins has no interest in playing overseas or in the NBA Development League while awaiting a phone call from an NBA squad. Collins was given the chance to enter his name in Friday’s D-League but decided against it.

In the same report, Stein points out that some league executives think Collins will find a landing place in January when 10-day contracts become an option. That would give him a chance to prove himself against elite competition instead of in the D-League. A successful 10-day stint may be just what Collins needs to draw interest from contenders searching for interior depth. 

For now, Collins will continue to maintain his workout regime at his home in Los Angeles.

 

Gulf Between Eric Bledsoe and the Suns?

The Phoenix Suns may be off to a quick start, but talks about a contract extension with their leading scorer reportedly did not go smoothly.

Sources told Marc Stein of ESPN.com there was a noticeable “gulf” between Eric Bledsoe and the Suns when trying to hash out an extension before Thursday’s deadline (the last day a player can agree to an extension).

Phoenix may want to see Bledsoe play at a high level consistently before committing serious money to the guard. But if he turns around and has an excellent season, offers in restricted free agency will come flying his way. That would put the Suns in a much more difficult position and make the current “gulf” between the two sides much more costly in the long term.

It is worth noting that Bledsoe is averaging 20 points, six assists, six rebounds and 1.5 steals per game through two contests this year.

 

NBPA Narrowing Its Search

The National Basketball Players Association has been seeking a replacement for former executive director Billy Hunter ever since he lost his job last February for a number of issues, including expenses and preferential hiring of family and friends.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today noted that the search process is moving along.

Having such a powerful position remain open for so long could be seen as counterproductive or as undermining the power of the players’ union. But after the embarrassment surrounding Hunter, making the right choice is more important than speeding up the process.

Union issues may not be particularly intriguing to casual fans of the game, but this decision will shape the outlook of the league and any potential future power struggles or negotiations for years to come.