Still much love between Jason Collins and Celtics

Still much love between Jason Collins and Celtics
April 7, 2013, 10:00 pm
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BOSTON — As Doc Rivers was winding down his post-game press conference, Jason Collins peaked his head in the room.

He waited momentarily, then stepped outside moments before Rivers finished.

The two walked back to Rivers' office, presumably to catch up on all that has transpired since Collins was traded to the Washington Wizards in February.

It was a trade that even to this day, Rivers won't hesitate in explaining how difficult it was for both him and the franchise to part with a guy who statistically speaking, contributed little to the Celtics success.

The need to make the trade was necessary when Leandro Barbosa (also included in the trade) suffered a season-ending torn ACL injury which came on the heels of the Celtics having already lost Rajon Rondo for the season, also because of a torn ACL.

"With the injuries they had (in Boston), they needed another scorer," Collins said. "Jordan Crawford, he's definitely capable of doing that. So it's part of the business."

When it came to intangibles, Rivers says he has been around few quite like Collins.

"He's the best," Rivers said. "He's one of the best guys I've ever had in the locker room, player or coach."

Their relationship was relatively non-existent until the Celtics signed him during the offseason.

"The two twins (Jason and his twin brother, Jarron), I used to call them the same name, Jason," Rivers said. "Because I didn't know which one was which. He's just a good guy and what he says is the truth."

Rivers added, "He's honest; he's honest with the coaching staff and he's honest with players. A player will complain about something and he will tell them the truth. A lot of guys don't want to hear the truth."

When asked if he would like to see him back in Boston, Rivers said, "I would love to have him all the time."

And Collins has made no secret about "definitely" being open to a return to Boston next season if the C's were still interested.

"Gotta put a no-trade clause in there," quipped Collins, who along with Barbosa, was traded to the Wizards for Crawford on Feb. 21.

Disappointed with being moved from a perennial playoff team like Boston to a perennial lottery-club like Washington, Collins declined to comment on whether it was discussed or whether he asked for a buy-out with the Wizards.

Regardless, Collins said his approach in Washington is no different than how he approached games with the Celtics.

"It's one of the biggest tests of my professionalism in my career, as far as what I was expecting this season," Collins said. "It's sort of the business side of the NBA. It's my job to go out there and do my job and be ready when my name and number is called regardless of what team I am playing for."