Brett Brown applauds Jason Collins' NBA return

Brett Brown applauds Jason Collins' NBA return
February 23, 2014, 4:30 pm
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Jason Collins last played in the NBA in 2013 as a member of the Wizards. Collins was without a team all season before signing with the Nets on Sunday. (USA Today Images)

Teams with aspirations of going deep into the NBA’s postseason use the trade deadline, and the days that follow, to bolster the depth of their rosters.

Jason Collins, a 35-year-old center, was not under contract with any team this season. Now he’s back with the Nets.

Collins, who signed a 10-day contract with Brooklyn on Sunday, last played in 2013 for the Wizards. His decision to publicly announce that he is gay last spring may or may not have impacted his status at the start of this season.

“The time is now,” Brett Brown said of Collins becoming the first openly gay, active NBA player. “It doesn’t matter. It is a new world. It is a new mentality, I hope. Certainly with my program and me it is. It always gets back to those same ingredients. Do you have character? Do you compete? Are you a good teammate? That is the litmus test that will go through, me and the team, for who plays for us or doesn’t, because that’s the bottom line.”

Collins spent his first six NBA seasons playing for the Nets. He was never a big scorer or rebounder, but he brought a physical presence that certainly would help in a series with either the Heat or Pacers.

Collins’ best season as a pro was in 2004-05, when he averaged 6.4 points and 6.1 rebounds while playing 31.8 minutes a game for the Nets. He was also part of the Nets teams that went back-to-back NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003.