Players say they're OK if Nets sign Jason Collins
If the Nets do sign Jason Collins and bring in the NBA's first openly gay player, that's perfectly fine with his prospective teammates.
"We would accept it greatly and it shouldn't be a problem, man," Joe Johnson said Friday as the Nets (25-27) prepared to take on the Warriors (33-22) Saturday night. "We've got a veteran group and I think everybody is pretty comfortable in their own skin. It's about what he can do to help us out there on that court. That's what it's about."
With the Nets owning two open roster spots and needing a big body after the trade of Reggie Evans to Sacramento, the 7-foot Collins, 35, is on their short list of potential replacements.
Coach Jason Kidd also didn't rule out making a run at Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who was bought out by the Magic on Thursday.
Collins worked out for the Nets during the All-Star break, and there's a possibility they will ink him to a 10-day contract to beef up their front line behind Kevin Garnett, Andray Blatche and Mason Plumlee.
Deron Williams said if Collins' addition would help the Nets, he's all for it. He also noted that Collins would receive a lot of attention as the first openly gay athlete in any of America's top four professional sports leagues.
"I think it's definitely going to be a media circus just because of the situation," Williams said. "It'd be a historic day and so we definitely have to deal with that. But I think with the type of team that we have, veterans who have played with him before and know him, it shouldn't be a problem."
Williams, who played with Collins' twin brother, Jarron, in Utah and knows both well, also understands that the Nets will be constantly peppered with queries if they sign Collins.
"It's not him being a distraction," Williams said. "It's just the media coming along with it, because every city you go to, it's not just like you answer a question once and then it's over with. It's a recurring thing. But like I said, I don't think it would be a problem for us."
That circus aspect, Williams believes, could be one of the reasons the 12-year veteran with career averages of 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds has gone unsigned since revealing his sexuality in April.
"He's a solid role player," Williams said. "I think it's just the distraction thing and maybe that might be the thing to turn teams [away]. But like I said, with us, I don't see that being a problem. With the team we have, coaching staff we have, I think we will definitely welcome him here."
Still, it's unclear just how good Collins can be after not playing competitively since April. There's a difference between being in shape and battling down low with the league's behemoths, and that's something the Nets will have to factor in should they ink Collins.
"Well, I think that's for management and our owner and then for our coaches to see what he can do if we decide to go that way," Kidd said. "But first, there has to be a decision on which way we are going in a sense, if we are going with Jason or is there an opportunity for another player. So until we make that decision, there's a process."