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Atlanta Hawks finally pull the trigger on long-rumored John Collins trade

After months of speculation and rumors, the Atlanta Hawks finally made the move many were looking to finally happen this summer and have traded big man John Collins.

The Atlanta Hawks’ interest in moving John Collins has been one of the worst-kept secrets in the NBA over the last six months. The player they took with the 19th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft seemed primed to be a perennial All-Star following the 2019-2020 season. That promise is why the team eventually gave him a massive five-year, $125 million contract in 2021.

Related: NBA trade tracker – NBA trades today with grades and analysis

Unfortunately for the Atlanta Hawks, Collins didn’t continue to develop and actually regressed in the last three seasons. That is why he was on the NBA trade block for the better part of the last year. Well, that came to an end on Monday.

Atlanta Hawks get little return in John Collins trade

atlanta hawks
Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Hawks had finally traded Collins. He and the $78 million left on his deal are headed to the Utah Jazz for veteran Rudy Gay and a future second-round pick.

The return is not much for a player that is still only 25 years old and very well could reach his potential under Jazz head coach Will Hardy as he returns to play pro basketball in his home state. However, the deal is likely seen as addition by subtraction for the Atlanta Hawks as they soured on the former first-round pick.

Collins will now help to form one of the more intriguing and talent-rich frontcourts in the league alongside All-Star Lauri Markkanen and young stud Walker Kessler. For the Atlanta Hawks, they clear up a solid amount of cap space to possibly sign a second or third-tier player in NBA free agency who is a better fit for new head coach Quinn Snyder’s system.

The Utah Jazz are able to take on Collins’ contract without having to send back much since the team was projected to be $25 million under the cap this summer.

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