The Atlanta Hawks are all-in on building around their superstar Trae Young. So far, they’ve shown the current core isn’t enough to push the team over the top. Even though he’s proven to be a key cog on their playoff team, it’s possible we see a John Collins trade this summer.
As is, the Hawks don’t appear to have enough upper echelon talent to help Ice Trae get to the NBA Finals. Meanwhile, Collins is the top earner on the team, on an annual salary basis. Even if he hasn’t yet reached his peak, the Hawks may feel Collins offers their best chance to pair Young with a true All-Star, which could provide further motivation for a trade this offseason.
Down below I provide three ideal trade scenarios if the Hawks were to move on from John Collins this offseason.
Utah Jazz give up Rudy Gobert for John Collins
- Hawks get: Rudy Gobert
- Jazz get: John Collins, Clint Capela
There have been Rudy Gobert trade rumors for a few seasons now as the Utah Jazz attempt to reach the next stage as a franchise. Could this be the offseason where Gobert is finally traded? After yet another disappointing ending to their season, it can’t be ruled out.
Yet, the Jazz need to be careful not to demolish their defensive efficiency when looking at any potential Gobert trade. One way to possibly offset his loss would be by bringing in another big who’s adept at paint protection. Clint Capela has proven himself more than capable of altering shots in the middle, but the true prize for the Jazz would be getting John Collins to pair with Donovan Mitchell.
- John Collins contract: $23.5 million in 2022-23, under contract through 2024-25, player option for another year
Unlike Gobert, Collins has the range to step out and hit a three and can also score from the low block. He would give the Jazz a much more versatile building block to pair with Mitchell.
For the Hawks, they get one of the best defensive bigs in basketball, which is sure to help shore up their 21st ranked defense from last year. Even if teams still want to go right at Young, there’s the Stifle Tower waiting in the paint, ready to send their shot three rows back. Adding Gobert would drastically change how teams play the Hawks.
Luka Doncic gets a pick-and-roll prodigy
- Hawks get: Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, 2022 first-round pick (No. 26)
- Mavericks get: John Collins, 2023 first-round pick
Like the Hawks, the Dallas Mavericks don’t have enough on-hand to help Luka Doncic reach the promised land. They could rectify this weakness by using a collection of their assets in pursuit of a John Collins trade.
They may not have enough to entice the Hawks to say yes, but they have a number of tradeable contracts that could intrigue Atlanta. Unfortunately, the Mavericks have already traded their 2023 first-round pick, which prevents them from sending out their pick in 2022, unless the Mavs get another first back, either in 2022 or 2023 elsewhere.
- John Collins stats: 16.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.0 BPG, .364 3PT%, .576 eFG%
From a basketball perspective, Collins would relieve pressure from Doncic offensively, while providing him with a friendly pick-and-roll, and alley oop target near the rim. Collins may not be the ball-handling combo guard that Spencer Dinwiddie or Jalen Brunson are, but he helps balance the roster, by sending out Tim Hardaway Jr., who is a very good shooter in his own right.
The Hawks get two contributors for the price of one and clear a lot of future salary off their books by trading Collins now.
New Orleans Pelicans part with Zion Williamson for John Collins
- Hawks get: Zion Williamson, Larry Nance Jr., Garrett Temple
- Pelicans get: John Collins, De’Andre Hunter, 2022 first-round pick (No. 16), 2023 first-round pick (unprotected)
Here’s the blockbuster that few will see coming. The New Orleans Pelicans clearly have a roster on the rise, and that’s without Zion Williamson even stepping foot on the court in 2021-22. Now they face a decision of either paying him a ridiculous amount of money while hoping he can fulfill his potential as the next superstar to be a member of the Pelicans, or they could try and escape the entire spectacle if they receive a strong enough trade offer.
Getting a return of Collins, De’Andre Hunter, and two firsts would likely have the Pelicans considering a Zion trade. Collins is already playing at a near All-Star level and Hunter has shown an ability to be a high-end 3-and-D wing with a lot of length who can help on both ends of the floor.
Meanwhile, the Hawks add a potential superstar with Williamson, who would instill nightmares on a nightly basis for any opponent tasked with either shutting down Ice Trae’s limitless range or committing to slowing down Williamson’s Tasmanian devil-like recklessness in the paint. Pairing Young with Williamson would make the Hawks one of the most fascinating teams in basketball and would surely be a nightly draw on NBA TV.