3 Reasons the Sixers Should Sign Jason Collins
The New York Times has a piece out today about Jason Collins, who still hasn’t been signed to an NBA team since he came out as gay in Sports Illustrated last spring. Perfect time for the Sixers to sign him. Here’s why.
1. Wherever Houston point guard Jeremy Lin goes, he draws an enormous Chinese and Taiwanese following. Many of those fans do not care deeply about basketball. Collins would be a similar–if not equal–commercial sensation. As the first active athlete in a major American sport to come out, he’s a household name not only in the LGBT community, but among many supporters of the gay rights movement. And signing a gay-rights icon in an extremely gay-friendly city is going to sell tickets. Or else no one but this guy is going to be coming out to see the team this year.
2. Center Nerlens Noel is out until at least January, meaning that besides Spencer Hawes, your only proven seven-footer is the worst #1 draft pick in NBA history: Kwame Brown. Collins plays solid defense, is a good chemistry guy, and has smart head for the game. He’d be an asset to the second or third unit and a good mentor for Noel.
3. The Sixers are currently so far below the team salary cap–about $7.5 million short–that signing Collins to a relatively expensive (for a benchwarmer) $1.4 million minimum deal wouldn’t hurt a bit.
Your move, Hinkie.