Nets Make History, Sign Jason Collins

By Jason Schott - @JESchott19

The Nets have signed forward Jason Collins to a 10-day contract, and he will be in the lineup for Sunday night's game against the Lakers. Tonight will mark the first time an openly gay player takes part in an NBA game.

Nets General Manager Billy King said in a statement, "The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision. We needed to increase our depth inside, and with his experience and size, we felt he was the right choice for a 10-day contract."

Collins is a 12-year NBA veteran who began his career with the New Jersey Nets alongside Jason Kidd, currently the Head Coach of the Nets. He played for the Nets for six and a half seasons from 2001-08, and averaged 4.4 points and 4.5 rebounds in 24.5 minutes per game. Collins started 404 of his 510 games with New Jersey. He played in 75 playoff games with the Nets, including their two runs to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. He is tied for third in Nets history in games played with 510, eighth in minutes played (12,493), ninth in offensive rebounds (782), and is tied for tenth in total rebounds (2,304).

He then played for Memphis in 2008, Minnesota (2008-09, the Atlanta Hawks from 2009 through 2012, and split last season with the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards.

Aside from Kidd, he has played with key members of the Nets. He played with Joe Johnson in Atlanta and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in Boston.

From when this was rumored on Thursday, the message from the players was clear that he would be accepted and welcomed to join the team.

At practice on Friday, Deron Williams said, "If he can help our team, I'm all for it. I think he's a great role player. I played with his brother for five and a half years, and they have similar games, so I've known Jason for years. He could help our team."

Joe Johnson said, "I don't think there's going to be a problem with it, man. I think it's how the guys on the team will accept him, and I think we should accept it, and it shouldn't be a problem."