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Atlanta Hawks rumors: Team has ‘willingness to listen’ to John Collins trade offers

Matt Fitzgerald
John Collins trade
Feb 10, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) dunks the ball against the Dallas Mavericks during the second quarter at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Hawks big man John Collins has been speculated as a potential trade target for a while, but the latest Hawks rumors suggest he’s on the block despite the complications associated with moving him.

Collins is averaging 18.5 points and 7.8 rebounds this season, but he’ll be a restricted free agent this next offseason and could flee Atlanta for no compensation if he’s not traded before then.

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Atlanta Hawks rumors: John Collins could be traded at NBA deadline

Sam Amick of The Athletic reported the Hawks aren’t shutting the door on offers that are flooding in for Collins’ services — despite how instrumental the 23-year-old has been to the squad’s success:

“Even if there was a quality deal to be had that added future assets, his production in the present is so crucial that it appears unlikely that he’ll be on the move. Nonetheless, sources say the Hawks have shown a willingness to listen to offers.”

Sam Amick on John Collins trade talks

The Hawks have failed to reach 30 wins in each of the past three seasons and are finally on the cusp of building a more sustainable core, so shipping someone like Collins away would have to net them a serious haul.

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It’s not as if Atlanta has a ton of players to pay on the roster, other than Collins’ frontcourt mate Clint Capela, who’s formed one of the best duos up front in the NBA alongside Collins.

Between rejecting a contract extension prior to the 2020-21 campaign and a reported spat with star point guard Trae Young, though, there’s reason to believe Collins may want a change of scenery and that the Hawks wouldn’t exactly be reticent to provide it.

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Will Atlanta Hawks derail future with John Collins trade?

Jan 20, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young (11) and forward John Collins (20) celebrate a play during their overtime win against the Detroit Pistons at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Again, though, how often does Atlanta get the chance to lure top-tier talent to its franchise? It’s not like the culture is that of a championship contender. The Hawks need to draft well in order to thrive, especially as Young approaches his prime. Free agents are going to be attracted to the prospect of playing with Young first and foremost, yet Collins is another versatile piece to the puzzle who helps make Atlanta a strong free-agent sell.

There are a fair amount of strong players on Atlanta’s roster at the minute. Most of them are young and don’t cost a lot, including the likes of De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish. Why not pay up for Collins, who’s obviously done enough to deserve a max contract and still has tons of upside as a player going forward?

Making the salaries work in a prospective trade is the tricky part for the Hawks, too. They’d probably need to get another team involved, or kick in some other young pieces they should be building around.

The actual act of trading Collins doesn’t give Atlanta a lot in return. It’s the lesser of two evils in the nightmare scenario where he decides not to stay with the team. It seems like tensions between Collins and Young have died down enough so as not to affect the on-court chemistry, but the Hawks must do all that they can to retain a home-grown talent who they hit a home run on in drafting 19th overall in 2017.

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