While it may seem like an outlier destination, there’s more to this than meets the eye. Aside from the fact that Collins was born in Utah, there are reasons for both teams to be interested in a deal.
Markkanen is the same age as Collins and makes a decent amount of money at around $17 million annually until 2025. However, Markkanen is having a much better season than Collins and the Jazz sit at 11-6, second in the Western Conference. Markkanen’s 21.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, and a block per game on 35% from three and 52% from the floor are, collectively, career-best figures for him.
It may be difficult to pry him away from the Jazz, but keep in mind that the franchise is rebuilding. They recently traded long-time stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves, respectively. They’ve also lost three of their last four games.
If that trend was to continue and the Jazz saw an opportunity to acquire the 25-year-old Collins and a first-round pick for Markkanen, it could be enticing. He would certainly immediately improve the Hawks’ three-point shooting, and his 0.6 defensive win shares would be nothing to scoff at.
There are plenty of other trade targets that the Hawks could be after, but Collins’ big contract – especially in regards to the teams over the salary cap – makes a lot of deals impractical. Such is true for a potential deal for the Brooklyn Nets’ youngster and shooter Cameron Thomas, for example.
If none of the deals listed above are appealing, that’s one of the many arguments to hold on to Collins. The simple reality is that moving him is difficult for numerous reasons. However, given the team’s glaring need for shooting and Collins’ abysmal 22.7% percentage from beyond the arc, a trade could become a necessity.