NBA star walks away from $12m salary to become a missionary
INDIANA Pacers guard Darren Collison has stunned the NBA by announcing his retirement at age 31.
The 10-year veteran, who averaged 12.5 points and five assists per game across a career with the Hornets, Mavericks, Clippers, Kings and Pacers, was entering free agency this year and according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski was looking at a contract worth $10-12 million a year.
But he's giving up the cash to become a missionary.
"While I still love basketball, I know there is something more important, which is my family and my faith," Collison wrote in a piece published by The Undefeated.
"I am one of the Jehovah's Witnesses and my faith means everything to me. I receive so much joy from volunteering to help others and participate in a worldwide ministry. The joy I feel is unmatched. With that being said, I have decided to retire from the NBA."
The Pacers are expected to pursue Utah point guard Ricky Rubio in free agency after the Jazz traded for Memphis's Mike Conley.
DURANT'S SHORTLIST REVEALED
Kevin Durant is either staying in the Bay, becoming LeBron James' rival in LA, or taking a bite of the Big Apple.
ESPN's Adrian Wojanarowski revealed the injured forward's short list of teams on Saturday (AEST) include the Golden State Warriors, LA Clippers, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets.
Story filed to ESPN: Golden State’s Kevin Durant is planning to engage four teams in discussions upon the opening of NBA free agency on Sunday – the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and Warriors, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2019
Durant is expected to miss the entire first season of whatever contract he signs after rupturing his Achilles tendon during game five of the NBA Finals.
REPORT: KAWHI WILL MEET WITH LAKERS
The LA Lakers will get an opportunity to convince Kawhi Leonard to join them as he decides his future next week.
Leonard, a California native, will hold all of his free agent meetings in Los Angeles, and the hometown Lakers and Clippers are on his list.
Leonard will get a late start as free agency begins Monday (AEST) but he won't convene with the Lakers and Clippers until Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The Knicks are expected to go sometime there after, before the Raptors get the last meeting.
Leonard was expected to sign with the Clippers for most of the season but that was before the Raptors won the title.
The Knicks are still considered as outliers in the Leonard hunt and the Lakers have emerged after clearing cap space for a max player to enlist with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
With the Lakers now expected to land a Kawhi Leonard meeting, a source tells @TheAthletic that LeBron James AND Anthony Davis are planning on being part of the formal pitch.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 28, 2019
"I got word the Los Angeles Lakers are to be taken seriously. They will be a team that's strongly considered for Kawhi Leonard to arrive to," ESPN's Stephen A Smith said.
"Kawhi Leonard was coached by Steve Fisher (at San Diego State). Steve Fisher's got a connection to Rob Pelinka. Rob Pelinka's been working that angle.
"LeBron and Kawhi have a very good relationship. They've been texting throughout the year. Obviously, Kawhi has worked out from time to time with Kobe. He grew up a Laker fan.
"This notion that the Lakers should be summarily dismissed is wrong. Kawhi Leonard is strongly considering the Los Angeles Lakers. Plus, New Balance would prefer that he be in LA rather than Toronto."
Important to remember a year ago Kawhi Leonard's preference was to be dealt to the Lakers. Time has passed. A championship has been won with the Raptors. The Clippers are on the rise. But the Lakers—the team he originally wanted—are as serious of a threat as anyone to sign Kawhi. https://t.co/rcNSggGSrk— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 28, 2019
KLAY LIKELY TO STAY
The threat of the Lakers and Clippers was enough for the Warriors to make their Klay Thompson intentions clear.
The afternoon after an LA Times report that Thompson would consider the Lakers and Clippers if the Warriors did not offer him a max deal, ESPN reported Golden State would do just that. The Warriors will offer Thompson, another Los Angeles native, a five-year, $190 million deal.
Thompson's father, Mychal, a former Lakers star, previously said there was "no question" Thompson would re-sign, so this comes as no huge shock.
Even though Thompson tore his ACL during game six of the NBA Finals and will miss significant time next season - if not the entire season - he's one of the pillars on which the Warriors built their franchise.
WHOSE MAN IS BOOGIE?
DeMarcus Cousins is one of the more interesting cases of NBA free agency.
He took a one-year, $5 million prove-it deal from the Warriors last off-season as he recovered from a ruptured Achilles tendon and the results were uneven under the glare of the postseason.
Despite his resume as a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA player, Cousins may be looking at another one-year deal this off-season - although a far more lucrative one.
Cousins averaged 16.6 points per game in the 2018-19 season, and was more active defensively with 8.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
As the Warriors entered the first round of the playoffs, he suffered a quad injury. He returned for the start of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors and showed signs of his past offensive dominance, but was exposed defensively.
The Knicks are among the interested teams, but an NBA source told The Post's Marc Berman that interest is mild. The Lakers, Celtics, and the Clippers have also all shown interest in a possible one-year deal.