Trade proposal with 3 teams, 6 players lands OG Anunoby on Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

How interested are the Atlanta Hawks in moving off of John Collins and, more specifically, his five-year, $125 million contract that is set to begin this season? The exact answer is unclear even in the face of supportive comments from the front office and public displays of camaraderie with teammates.

Because, at every step of the way even before his current contract was inked, there have been rumblings that the Hawks and/or Collins were looking for something else.

Collins, from the sounds of it, just wants some structure regarding his role.

What exactly the Hawks are looking for remains unclear if they aren’t sold on a player that has averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds in an NBA season and doesn’t turn 25 years old until the end of September.

3-team trade proposal sees Atlanta Hawks send John Collins to Heat for Raptors OG Anunoby

We have already seen one proposal that landed Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby in Atlanta. But this one from Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley adds a little more complexity in the form of an additional team. However, even within that, there are some familiar mechanics from other hypothetical scenarios.

Buckley’s scenario that would “shake up the East”, has the Hawks sending Collins and the lottery-protected 2024 first-round pick from the Sacramento Kings (Kevin Huerter trade) to the division-rival Miami Heat.

In exchange, Miami sends a pair of players to Toronto who then sends Anunoby stateside to the Hawks.

Atlanta would also send 2021 20th-overall pick Jalen Johnson to the Raptors.

“The Hawks could use another lock-down defender,” Buckley argues, “even after splurging on Dejounte Murray this summer. The Raptors could get good mileage out of a perimeter shot-creator. The Heat have a glaring void at the 4 spot and could look John Collins’ direction after seemingly lacking the assets to broker a bigger blockbuster for Kevin Durant or Donovan Mitchell.”

Making the deal make sense for one team is one thing. But doing so for three different teams is naturally more difficult.

Buckley thinks this deal does that, though, starting with the Hawks.

“Murray might be a better individual defender than Anunoby, but the former can only provide so much protection as a 6’4″, 180-pounder. Anunoby, a 6’7″, 232-pound swingman, can pester both quick guards and big forwards. Between those two, De’Andre Hunter, the combination of Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu at center, plus Thaddeus Young filling a niche between the 4 and 5 spots, Atlanta could put a turbo-charged defense around Trae Young and potentially strike a championship-level, two-way balance.”

Anunoby has been on the market with reports that he is unsatisfied with his role in Toronto following the emergence of Scottie Barnes as a rookie last season.

It is unclear how much that role would change on the Hawks with Collins as the example.

“Collins has seen his usage drop in recent years, but the last time he was featured on that end, he averaged 21.6 points on 58.3/40.1/80.0 shooting.”

As for Thaddeus Young, the 34-year-old is a fair comparison to what Johnson can become with time and there might not be a better place for him to develop – other than on the floor for the Hawks – than the Raptors.

“Toronto can run the physically gifted Jalen Johnson through its developmental program.”

Things get more complicated when trying to view things through helping to make the Heat starting lineup more complete.

As it stands, they have a massive hole at power forward and are up against it financially.

“The Heat would fill their void at the 4 with Collins, escape Robinson’s bloated salary, gain a first-round pick to keep or trade and not have to try to price Herro in 2023 restricted free agency.”

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This trade works financially. But the same issues Anunoby is reportedly having in Toronto with his role would likely follow him to Atlanta and replace the rumblings that have surrounded Collins for at least two years now.

There are also those public displays of friendship – or at least of being on good terms as teammates – with Collins joining Murray and Trae Young in summer pro-am action. That cannot be discounted by a front office that has seemingly done whatever else it can to appease the point guard.

This might make sense on many levels – the Hawks have wanted to get a starting power forward in return for Collins in any trade per reports. But it is probably still not enough to get done barring some request from one of the players involved.

It cannot even be completed until mid-January due to Young’s contract which is needed to make the financials work.

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Even without that, there is probably still not enough incentive to get this particular deal done barring some request from one of the players involved.