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Pistons work out Josh Harrellson, Jason Collins, probably other centers

Franz Lidz of Sports Illustrated:

The Detroit Pistons have decided to pass on signing veteran free-agent center Jason Collins, according to an official in the team’s front office, Four months ago the 34-year-old center became the first active male in one of the four major North American team sports to announce he was gay. He recently worked out with the Pistons in the hope of filling out the end of their bench as a reserve.

We already knew the Pistons had interested in Collins  and they passed, but the key new information is they worked him out.

The Pistons will obviously conduct physicals on any potential signee, but this sounds like they’re going a step further in evaluating players.

Josh Harrellson told Kentucky Sports Radio he had a Pistons workout planned (hat tip: Sean Corp of Detroit Bad Boys). Corp also reports someone claiming to be Harrellson’s cousin tweeted “Congrats to my cousin @BigJorts55 for signing with the Detroit pistons." That tweet has since been deleted, and it could be for a variety of reasons. My best guess: the cousin misunderstood the difference between getting a workout and a contract.

Someone claiming to be Hassan Whiteside’s cousin, Vincent Whiteside, also tweeted Whiteside tried out for the Pistons and Heat and will sign with the Pistons. It makes sense the Pistons would have interest in Hassan Whiteside, who has a 7-foot-7 wingspan and spent his first two professional seasons with the Kings before playing in the D-League and overseas last year. But I put no stock into the tweets of “Vincent,” who began tweeting yesterday and has zero followers. This doesn’t pass the smell test – not even close.

But, with Collins and Harrellson, we’re getting a clearer picture of the Pistons’ plan. Joe Dumars already said he wants to use the 15th and final roster spot on a big man, and it seems they also are giving players they like opportunities to prove themselves in a workout. That indicates there isn’t a single free agent available they’re gung-ho about signing and would rather learn more about other players. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Pistons invite multiple centers to training camp on non-guaranteed contracts and choose one during the preseason.

19 Comments

  • Aug 20, 20133:52 pm
    by Anthony J.

    Reply

    I LOVE THIS JOE D!!! Yes it may just be the 15th roster spot who may not even stay with the team for long but I’m glad that Dumars is doing his homework on guys. This is what a good GM does. My thought on this is even though it’s the 15th roster spot, you can never have too much talent. don’t just settle on somebody even though they won’t get much PT. Get as much talented players as you can.

  • Aug 20, 20134:33 pm
    by MIKEYDE248

    Reply

    With Drummond’s aggressiveness he tended to pick up a lot of fouls in the small amount of minutes he played last year.  Whoever they sign could end up playing a few minutes in these cases, if Drummond ends up in the same situation again this year.  Other than that, he should probably never see the floor, except in practice.

  • Aug 20, 20134:41 pm
    by Mister Sample

    Reply

    I’d still like to see Chris Wilcox in the mix. He knows the culture and can play extended minutes. This is the most exciting post season in a while!

    • Aug 20, 20135:44 pm
      by RyanK

      Reply

      And these 13-15 guys seem to make bigger trade deals work.  If we have a guy with some value, it might make a trade work that otherwise wouldn’t.

      Wilcox…I think there’s a reason he wasn’t offered a renewal here when his contract expired.  It wasn’t because he was talentless. 

  • Aug 20, 20135:52 pm
    by sebastian

    Reply

    Enough with the Jason Collins potential signings, please?!?!?! Harrellson can actually play. He sets strong, solid picks, and has a nice 15-18 footer.

  • Aug 20, 20137:02 pm
    by Otis

    Reply

    Yeah, I don’t understand why the team contacting him or passing on him is news on any level. Because he’s gay? Oh, ok.
     
    Once he’s actually got a contract, it’s news. But it still shouldn’t be such a big news story that everyone who catches a whiff of his fart makes headlines. Any way you slice it, his sexuality should never me more important than his ability to contribute.
     
    I remember when Dan wrote something like: “It would be an honor for the Pistons to sign the first openly gay athlete,” and it struck me as odd. I mean, if he’s the best available free agent, that should be the only thing that matters. Nobody should close their doors to him because he’s gay, but he shouldn’t get a contract based on his sexuality over his merit as a player. If that’s what we’re working towards as a society, we shouldn’t all act so obsessed with his gayness.

    • Aug 20, 20138:01 pm
      by CityofKlompton

      Reply

      Apparently you didn’t read the rest of Dan’s article? The part about explaining that he shouldn’t get a contract based upon his being the first openly gay player.

      However, the fact that he is the first openly gay, active, North American, professional athlete seeking a contract makes this kind of thing newsworthy. If you think that’s not news, it’s a good thing you don’t work in the media. 

      • Aug 21, 20131:54 pm
        by Otis

        Reply

        I read it, dude. I just thought this whole being “honored” thing was a bit much. Gave me the distinct impression like his sexuality would be a factor in the decision, which it shouldn’t be. And, frankly, my opinions on Collins and the media hype take into account the entire situation, including the fact that Collins was pretty clearly not the best candidate available as a 34 year old at the very end of his career, as evidenced by the Harrellson signing. A full decade younger with some real upside. There is no two ways about it: If they signed Collins, it would have had SOMETHING to do with his being the first gay man in the NBA.

        • Aug 21, 20137:21 pm
          by CityofKlompton

          Reply

          I see where you’re coming from, but I disagree with you somewhat.  While he may not have been the best FA big man still available, if Detroit wanted to bring in an NBA veteran with a specialization on low-post presence, Collins would be a legitimate candidate and a much stronger one than Harrellson or any other young big. His sexuality doesn’t factor into that at all.

          • Aug 22, 20131:52 pm
            by sebastian

            Yo, City, Collins is not and has never been, as good as, you seem to describe.

          • Aug 22, 20135:36 pm
            by CityofKlompton

            I never described him as good; simply a veteran with a specialization.  Neither of which implies he is good.  If they wanted a veteran any young big would immediately be disqualified from consideration which, by default, would make Collins a stronger candidate to fill the spot.  That is all I’m saying.

          • Aug 23, 20133:45 pm
            by Otis

            Yeah my only point is that there is no standard by which he could have possibly been signed based on merit alone. Absolutely impossible.

  • Aug 20, 20137:46 pm
    by Mike Whiteman

    Reply

    We want Big Ben back in a Motor City jersey

  • Aug 20, 20139:17 pm
    by HardyHar

    Reply

    I don’t understand why we’re not hearing ANYTHING about Ben Wallace. This sounds like the perfect scenario to bring him back. He would be a terrific mentor in practice and the locker room and don’t tell me he can’t defend in limited minutes. Scratching my head on that one.

    • Aug 21, 20131:57 pm
      by Otis

      Reply

      There is literally only one explanation, and it’s as obvious as it gets: He’s not playing anymore. Simple as that. No need to scratch your head. I think he kept open the possibility that he might return, but we’d have heard some chatter by now if he was. It’s been plenty long enough to call it DOA.

  • Aug 20, 20139:22 pm
    by Scott

    Reply

    It would be great to get Big Ben back, but Whiteside would be interesting, especially if he could bulk up a bit so he wont get pushed around so much in the paint.

  • Aug 20, 20139:49 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    Breaking: Pistons have signed Josh Harrellson to a two year deal. First year is partially guaranteed with second year a team option. 

  • Aug 21, 20133:08 am
    by jj lang

    Reply

    Happy for josh.  He’s a nice roll player.  Big Ben would a been sweet.  Glad Collins was passed over.  He’s a veteran with low character.   No reason to even bring that bum in for a workout.   Wouldn’t have minded Tyrus Thomas. 

    • Aug 21, 20136:33 pm
      by Ryan Kelly

      Reply

      Lol.  Not sure why anyone would be honored to have a clown like jason Collins on their team.  He has never been an actual good player.  He’s always been a roll player with barely any basketball skill.    Happy with harrleson.    harrleson might actually help if there are any injuries.  Collins is a stumbling bumbling oaf who won’t have a job next season. 

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