After being the only player on the roster not to get on the floor in a 107-96 loss and sitting for the 20th time in 25 games since joining the Wizards, Jason Collins caught up with Boston Celtics Coach Doc Rivers.
Collins never wanted to leave Boston and Rivers didn’t really want to let him go, but the Celtics had to make a move to upgrade the backcourt with the team losing both Rajon Rondo and Leandro Barbosa to season-ending knee injuries.
“I understand; they understand,” Collins said on Sunday in his return to Boston. “With the injuries they had, they definitely needed another scorer. Jordan Crawford, he’s definitely capable of doing that. I was last on the list, so it’s part of the business.”
Collins declined to comment when asked if he sought a buyout in order to finish his career with a contender, but said he would “definitely” consider signing with Boston next season.
“Might put a no-trade clause in there,” joked Collins, who was thrown into the Feb. 21 deadline deal, along with Barbosa, after Chris Wilcox refused to forfeit his Bird rights to facilitate the deal. “What an honor it was to play for a great organization that has so much history. Great group of guys in that locker room. The leadership with Doc, [Kevin Garnett] and [Paul] Pierce. Nothing but good memories.”
Rivers certainly valued Collins’s contributions to the Celtics, even if the statistics didn’t show that he made much of a difference. “He’s the best,” Rivers said of Collins. “I’ve said it before, but he’s one of the best guys I’ve ever had in a locker room, player or coach. It’s funny. I didn’t know him very well before he came here. But the two twins, I used to call them the same name: Jason. Because I didn’t know which one was which. He’s just a good guy and what he says is the truth.”
The Wizards are 14-11 since making the trade, while the Celtics have gone 11-11, but Collins is disappointed that he will miss out on the postseason for just the third time in his 12-year career. While admitting that his stint his Washington has tested him professionally, Collins added that has learned from his experience.
“It’s sort of the business side of the NBA. It’s my job to go out there and do my job and be ready when my name and number is called, regardless of what team I am playing for,” Collins said. “I’ve been on successful teams pretty much my whole career, but even those two seasons I finished with Memphis and Minnesota, you learn just as much from adversity and losses as you do from success.”
Rivers added that he wouldn’t mind having Collins back in Boston: “I would love to have him all the time.”