The Brooklyn Nets are giving strong consideration to signing Jason Collins to a 10-day contract that would position the free-agent center to become the NBA's first active openly gay player, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Nets, after letting Thursday's trade deadline pass without making a deal for Los Angeles Lakers forward Jordan Hill, have identified Collins as a prime candidate to fill one of their two open roster spots and bolster a depleted frontcourt rotation via a 10-day deal.
No final decision has been made, but the Nets on Thursday night confirmed an earlier ESPN.com report that Collins was auditioned by the team in a private workout in Los Angeles earlier this week to assess the state of the 35-year-old's game.
Nets general manager Billy King acknowledged the workout in an evening conference call with local reporters after the passing of the trade deadline but said he did not attend it in person. When asked to share the feedback he received on Collins, King said: "He's in shape."
"He's one of the names on the list," King said of Collins. "We will look at anybody that's a free agent that's big that's out there. We're looking at any guys that are free agents and he's one of the guys. But we've got other guys that we'll look at."
"We're going to look to add a guy," King said, "that we feel will help us."
The Nets (25-27), three games behind Atlantic Division-leading Toronto entering Thursday's play, are one game into a five-game Western Conference swing. One scenario under consideration, sources said, is making a 10-day roster addition during the trip.
Nets coach Jason Kidd confirmed Friday on WFAN that Collins is one of multiple candidates that management could decide to sign.
"For me, it's about coaching the guys that I have or will have," Kidd said. "I think he's a possibility for a big that's out there, but we also have to look at other candidates too. So I can't say that he's not a candidate, but we're looking."
Collins' potential reunion with the franchise, for whom he played during his first six-plus seasons in the league, would put the 7-footer in line to become the first openly gay athlete to play in any of North America's four traditional major team sports.
University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam announced he is gay earlier this month in an ESPN "Outside The Lines" interview but wouldn't make his NFL debut until the fall. L.A. Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers became the first openly gay male athlete to play in a top U.S. professional sports league when he made his Major League Soccer debut in May 2013, just three months after coming out.
And John Amaechi, who spent five seasons in the NBA with Orlando, Utah and Cleveland, disclosed his sexual orientation three years after his playing career ended in a 2007 book titled "Man In The Middle."
Collins made his own announcement about his sexual orientation to Sports Illustrated in April 2013, in a story that ran in the magazine's May 6 issue. The 12-year veteran has said many times since that he has worked himself into the best physical shape of his career, but Collins -- apart from an August audition with the Detroit Pistons -- had been unable to persuade NBA teams to so much as invite him to training camp.