Fresh off a shocking appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s looking like the Atlanta Hawks are not going to be able to retain John Collins.
The 23-year-old forward is slated to become a restricted free agent in early August. Collins and the Hawks had engaged in extension conversations in the lead up to the NBA trade deadline in March without much in terms of progress. It led to rumors that he could have been moved before said deadline.
Now with the offseason upon the Hawks, they have a decision to make as it relates to Collins. The former first-round pick from Wake Forest has been tremendous since entering the league, averaging 19.3 points and 9.0 rebounds on 57% shooting over the past three seasons alone.
Whether it’s via sign-and-trade or free agency itself, let’s look at four ideal landing spots for John Collins this summer.
Dallas Mavericks sign John Collins outright
It’s not a secret that Dallas is looking to upgrade its supporting cast behind stud guard Luka Doncic. New general manager Nico Harrison will be looking to do that for first-year head coach Jason Kidd this summer, presumably using his connections from Nike to cultivate relationships with free agents.
Dallas is expected to have upwards of $52 million to spend in free agency depending on the status of Tim Hardaway Jr. Even if it were to re-sign the veteran, the team would have enough to bring in Collins on a rookie-level max contract. He’d be a perfect fit with Doncic as an inside-out pairing.
Portland Trail Blazers add John Collins in a sign-and-trade
“I’m not sure we’re going to be able to keep every single player that we want to keep. Pretty good bet, pretty good assumption we will not,” Hawks owner Tony Ressler said recently.
This doesn’t mean that the Hawks are not going to engage in sign-and-trade talks with other teams should they come to the conclusion that John Collins is not worth a max contract.
On the other hand, the Portland Trail Blazers need to do everything possible to appease star guard Damian Lillard as a way to prevent him requesting a trade. Acquiring someone of Collins’ ilk in the low-post just might move the needle here. In return, Portland offers up the likes of Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic to make the salaries work and provide Atlanta with more depth.
Minnesota Timberwolves get Karl-Anthony Towns some help
We’re not 100% sure what Minnesota could offer up to Atlanta in a sign-and-trade for Collins. What we do know is that front office head Gersson Rosas is looking to make a splash in the frontcourt. Minnesota wants to add a four to the mix with Towns.
Perhaps, the Timberwolves entice Atlanta with high-scoring shooting guard Malik Beasley and former lottery pick Jarrett Culver. The only question here is whether the Hawks are willing to add to their payroll to bring two players of this ilk back in a hypothetical Collins trade.
New York Knicks sign John Collins
Reigning NBA Most Improved Player Julius Randle mans the power forward position for New York. The surprising team also likes what it has in young center Mitchell Robinson and just made another low-post player in Obi Toppin a lottery pick last year.
So, this would seem to be an unnatural fit. That’s just on the surface. The idea here would be for New York to sign Collins outright and then flip Toppin and picks for a legitimate star in the backcourt with Damian Lillard being a prime target. In turn, Collins could play small-ball center in the Knicks’ lineup. It actually could work.