The Brooklyn Nets will not decide on whether to proceed with their interest in signing free-agent center Jason Collins until letting the sudden free agency of Glen "Big Baby" Davis play out over the weekend, according to sources close to the process.
Davis officially will hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent Monday assuming he clears waivers after finalizing a contract buyout Friday with the Orlando Magic.
Sources told ESPN.com that Davis is the Nets' top choice for the opening in their frontcourt rotation. But Brooklyn's attentions could shift quickly back to Collins if the Nets miss out on Davis, who is being recruited hard to join the Los Angeles Clippers by former coach Doc Rivers.
Sources say Rivers and Nets forward Kevin Garnett are going head-to-head in a recruiting battle to try to convince Davis to join their respective teams. The trio, of course, were all on the same side when the Rivers-coached Boston Celtics won the NBA title in 2008.
ESPN.com first reported Thursday that the Nets quietly auditioned Collins in a private workout in Los Angeles earlier this week and had established him as a prime candidate for a 10-day contract that would position Collins to become the first active openly gay player in any of North America's four recognized major team sports.
But the Nets, sources said, are likely to sign only one big man next week and save their other open roster spot to fill another need.
Sources close to the situation say that Davis is expected to make his decision based on playing time and the situation he likes best. The Nets hold no financial advantage over the Clippers because any amount Davis receives will be subtracted from the remaining salary Orlando owes Davis this season.
The Clippers, sources said, are seen by some around the league to have the edge over the Nets because of Rivers' persuasive presence. Orlando was unsuccessful in trying to deal Davis before Thursday's deadline, largely because the veteran forward is owed $6.6 million next season on top of this season's $6.4 million.
Nets coach Jason Kidd, when asked about the prospect of signing his former teammates Collins, told WFAN Radio on Friday: "That's up to management and the owner. For me, it's about coaching the guys that I have or will have. I think he's a possibility for a big that's out there, but we also have to look at other candidates, too. So I can't say that he's not a candidate, but we're looking."
When asked specifically about how the potential addition of Collins would affect the locker room, Kidd told the station: "It's not a worry. Jason for me is a teammate that I've played with and a friend. It's about basketball. And for him, the opportunity to help -- if it's the Nets or another NBA team -- which I think he can do, I think it's a great opportunity for him and any team that does sign him."
ESPNNewYork.com reporter Mike Mazzeo contributed to this report.