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.
The Nets, though, are an organization filled with Collins supporters and experienced players less likely to be fazed by the media blitz the signing inevitably will spark, which is among the factors most frequently cited to explain why it has taken so long for Collins to find a new team.
For starters, Collins would be reunited with Kidd, who played alongside the defensive-minded big man in New Jersey from 2001 to 2008, making two trips together to the NBA Finals. Collins also played with Nets guard Joe Johnson for three seasons in Atlanta and spent half of the 2012-13 season in Boston alongside Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett before being traded to the Washington Wizards. Collins is friends with injured Nets center Brook Lopez, who, like Collins, played alongside his twin brother at Stanford.
The Nets are looking for some added size and depth at the center position after losing Lopez for the season to yet another broken foot in December. Sources said that this week's trade of backup bruiser Reggie Evans to Sacramento, along with the Nets' decision Thursday against trading for Hill, created a further need in Brooklyn's frontcourt.
King scoffed at the suggestion that Collins was being considered for a 10-day deal for mere publicity reasons, saying: "We're going to bring in a basketball player. It's not about marketing or anything like that. ... We are trying to get a guy in who can play basketball at this point. That's my focus."
Yet King did concede that the media blitz that would likely engulf the Nets, at least to start, is something that has to be accounted for in the decision-making process.
"You look at it from every aspect when you add a player," King said.
Kidd said Collins would play just as big a role with the team as any other new addition.
"Well, it definitely can help," Kidd said on WFAN. "As you can see, everyone on the team plays. There's nights when KG can't play that we need another big to step up, so whoever joins our family, if anyone, will have the opportunity to play."
Kidd said Collins' sexuality would not be a factor in the locker room.
"It's not a worry," Kidd said on WFAN. "Jason for me is a teammate that I've played with and a friend. It's about basketball. And for him, [it's an] opportunity to help if it's the Nets or another NBA team, which I think he can do. I think it's a great opportunity for him and any team that does sign him."
King acknowledged that a well-rounded defender, as much an outright rebounding specialist, would appeal to the Nets, which would appear to enhances Collins' chances of landing at least a 10-day deal given that his specialties are positioning, pick-sitting and post defense. No Net could use a hand more than Garnett, who has been starting at center in place of the injured Lopez and anchoring the Nets' defense but could find himself rested in several games during the regular-season stretch run given Brooklyn's eight remaining back-to-backs.