Veteran guard Darren Collison, who stunningly retired before free agency, is considering a February return to the NBA -- with the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers emerging as his preferred destinations, league sources told ESPN.
Collison, 32, exited the league abruptly in late June despite an expectation that he would attract multiple contract offers in the neighborhood of $10 million-plus a season.
Collison's interest in a return and his focus on the Los Angeles teams sets up another possible recruiting showdown between the Lakers and Clippers, two of the NBA's primary championship contenders.
Many of the league's contenders have monitored Collison's interest in returning and have stayed in contact with his agent, Bill Duffy of BDA Sports, and others close to Collison, league sources said.
It is unlikely that a Collison comeback would come before the NBA's trade deadline on Feb. 6. The Lakers and Clippers are also competing to acquire Andre Iguodala, who is waiting for Memphis to trade him.
In an interview with The Undefeated and ESPN's Marc Spears on June 28, Collison cited religious reasons for retiring.
"While I still love basketball, I know there is something more important, which is my family and my faith. 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."
Collison averaged 11 points and six assists with the Indiana Pacers last season. He's become a progressively better 3-point shooter in his career, including shooting 47 percent in the 2017-18 season with the Pacers.
Collison played one season for Doc Rivers with the Clippers in 2013-14, including 13 playoff games as a backup to Chris Paul, and also played one-and-a-half seasons for Frank Vogel with the Pacers. Collison also had stops with New Orleans, Sacramento and Dallas.