Los Angeles Clippers' reserve point guard Darren Collison might not find a better situation than his current one, but he could improve his financial books over the offseason.
Darren Collison of the Los Angeles Clippers will forgo the second year of his contract that would have paid him $1.9 million to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, a league source informed CSNNW.com. …
The source’s response to our inquiry was, 'Darren is definitely opting out.'
Opting out, of course, doesn't mean that the former UCLA Bruin is leaving Los Angeles.
In fact, there seems to be mutual interest in keeping him with the Clippers, per Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times:
Clippers would like Collison back - Collison would like to be back - becomes a question of who around the league offers what— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) May 29, 2014
Collison does a lot of things well.
He finished the 2013-14 season with the NBA's 28th-best efficiency mark as a pick-and-roll ball-handler (0.89 points per possession), via Synergy Sports (subscription required). He showed an understanding of controlling the tempo, knowing when and how to maximize his own athletic gifts and those of the players around him.
He was capable of working on the ball (11.4 points, 3.7 assists against 1.7 turnovers) or operating away from it (37.6 three-point percentage). That versatility surfaced in the 639 minutes Clippers coach Doc Rivers played Collison with Paul. With both point guards on the floor, the Clippers enjoyed a plus-13.0 net rating, via NBA.com, the second best of all their two-man tandems with at least 500 minutes played.
Defensively, he shows the right effort and energy for the job. He's not a lockdown defender by any stretch—he was the league's 198th-ranked isolation defender, via Synergy Sports, allowing 0.91 points per possession—but he brings a good fight to that side of the floor.
He can impact the game in a number of ways, but it's hard to bank on him excelling in a certain area on any given night. He's great as a second-team spark plug, though, and a serviceable spot starter.
"He’s exactly the kind of back up point guard a lot of teams could use," NBC Sports' Kurt Helin wrote. "Including the Clippers."
If Collison can find the right price in L.A., there figures to be little or no incentive for him to leave. The Clippers are built to make use of his athleticism, and there's always a handful of starts available behind Paul, who's missed an average of 13 games over the last three seasons.
Still, there's always an uncertainty when players venture out into free agency. If a suitor backs a Brink's truck into his driveway, the Clippers may find themselves in need of a new reserve floor general.
Both parties seem interested in keeping this relationship alive. We'll see if that's still the case when money is added to the mix.
Unless otherwise noted, statistics used courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.