It likely won’t matter if Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins plays in a game during the regular season. He will still be bandied about in trade rumors simply because of how much he has been put out there by his own team. He has been offered in packages for several different stars from Ben Simmons to Kevin Durant.
There were even early reports that they sought draft compensation and cap relief in exchange for the five-year veteran.
That has since been reported as a draft pick and a starting caliber power forward.
Recent reports have the Phoenix Suns searching for a power forward. That could bring them calling the Hawks. And it could result in an offer that is at least intriguing given what the Hawks have already tried to accomplish this offseason.
Cam Johnson to Atlanta Hawks, John Collins to Phoenix Suns in newly proposed trade
Phoenix was, at one point, a veritable lock to land formerly disgruntled superstar Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets. But Durant has since rescinded his trade request leaving teams to figure out alternatives, including the Suns. And, per 98.7 FM’s John Gambadoro, that’s just what they intend to do.
In an attempt to help them in their search, while maintaining their status as a title contender, Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz has an idea.
“The Hawks say yes so they can continue to add defensive pieces around Trae Young, with [Jae] Crowder giving them another versatile forward who can guard multiple spots and hit open threes. [Cameron] Johnson was the NBA’s fourth-best three-point shooter last season (42.5 percent) and should thrive on drive-and-kick attempts from Young and Dejounte Murray.”
Atlanta sent a package of picks along with forward Danilo Gallinaro to the San Antonio Spurs for Murray. A subsequent trade sending Kevin Huerter to the Sacramento Kings helped to replenish some of the depth lost as well as draft capital from the Murray deal.
But the Hawks bench is still looking at taking a step back given all of their significant contributors that will be suiting up for new teams next season.
This deal goes a long way to replenishing that depth and more draft capital.
“[Landry] Shamet gives Atlanta a backcourt shotmaker (39.0 percent on catch-and-shoot threes) after trading Kevin Huerter earlier this summer. The Hawks also pick up another draft selection in 2025, one where they currently only own the Oklahoma City Thunder’s second-rounder.”
Johnson averaged 12.5 points and 4.1 rebounds this past season. He also shot 42.5% from beyond the arc and is still just 26 years old.
Perhaps most importantly he has spent the majority of his time in the NBA at power forward. That allows the Hawks to keep De’Andre Hunter at small forward where he might be exposed to less physical play, a potential bonus given his injury history.
Crowder, 32, is coming off of a down season as a full-time starter.
Johnson mostly came off of the bench in Phoenix. So, while a switch in roles could help Crowder while taking Johnson to another level, it is fair to wonder why that is not the look that the Suns went with this past year. That is the biggest concern outside of the fact that Collins still seems to be beloved by his teammates.
Any potential deal has to take that into consideration. Despite the rumors, the last thing the front office wants to do is upset the franchise in Trae Young by shipping out someone he wants to play as has appeared to be the case this summer.