Atlanta Hawks center Jason Collier died early Saturday after he had trouble breathing and was stricken in his home, his father said. He was 28. General manager Billy Knight said the cause of death was not immediately clear for the 7-foot, 260- pound player. He said Collier had “no issues’ in a preseason physical given to all players. Collier started 44 games last season for Atlanta, averaging 5.7 points and 2.6 rebounds in 13.5 minutes. With the addition of Zaza Pachulia, Collier was not projected as a starter this season but was viewed as a top backup. In two preseason games, Collier averaged 3.5 points and 3.0 rebounds. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Jeff Collier told The Associated Press his son died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital and did not have any diagnosed health problems apart from his knees. Team spokesman Arthur Triche initially said Collier possibly died of cardiac arrest, but would not provide details. He later said the team was not sure how Collier died. Collier’s agent, Richard Howell, said an autopsy was being performed. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The Hawks canceled an open scrimmage Saturday, but will play an exhibition game on Monday night at Charlotte. “We are saddened by the news of Jason Collier’s sudden passing,’ NBA commissioner David Stern said. “He epitomized hard work, dedication and perseverance, and more importantly compassion, kindness and selflessness.’ Howell said Collier and his wife of four years ate dinner at a restaurant Friday night and then returned home, where Collier spent time playing with his 1-year-old daughter, Elezan. “He started feeling real bad in the middle of the night,’ said Howell, who spoke with Collier’s wife. “It’s just very sad. I’m totally stunned and devastated.’ Collier was a part-time starting center the last two seasons after playing mostly as a backup in three years at Houston. He began his college career at Indiana before transferring to Georgia Tech.