While the Indiana Pacers seemed unlikely to bring Darren Collison back in free agency, his surprising retirement at 31 years old will have ripple effects in the point guard market.
With one less appealing veteran guard available less than 48 hours before free agency begins, the price of every other free agent at the position could go up. Teams that were planning on pursuing Collison will have to look elsewhere for their floor general needs.
Players like Ricky Rubio, who has been connected to the Pacers by many reports, could find themselves with some new teams calling that weren’t previously as interested. His price could go up, his market “too frothy,” and Indiana could start to look elsewhere.
Teams like the Suns, Pistons, Lakers, Mavericks, Bucks, and more all are looking for a point guard to some extent whether it’s re-signing their own guys or finding someone new.
George Hill, Patrick Beverley and Cory Joseph all stand to benefit. Teams may be more inclined to take a shot at the RFA market with guys like D’Angelo Russell, Malcolm Brogdon, Tomas Satoransky and Tyus Jones.
While it seemed like the Pacers were ready to try something else at the position, Indiana could have kept his $13 million cap hold on the books until they found a replacement or he signed somewhere else. That way if they struck out on potential guards in free agency and Collison had yet to find a new home, the Pacers would potentially be able to bring him back and go over the cap if need be to re-sign him (though he was probably unlikely to be signed for more than his cap hold anyway).
Overall, it does not really change the Pacers cap situation since they were probably going to renounce him anyway. They’ll still have roughly $21 million in cap space while keeping Bojan Bogdanovic’s cap hold on the books. But if this retirement does rise the prices of their potential targets some, it could limit what else they can do with that space.
Collison’s retirement shocked his teammates who were caught off guard that it was something he was considering.
Thad Young told HoopsHype that they had recently even discussed their free agency plans.
“DC was one of my favorite guards I ever played with,” Myles Turner told HoopsHype. “He constantly challenged me, but also constantly reminded me how good I was. I completely support and respect his decision.”
Many other players took to social media to wish their former teammate well.