Perception is reality, at least from the outside. But sometimes the gravity of those perceptions can change the reality inside too. For the Atlanta Hawks and John Collins, the latter could very well be the case. Collins has been mired in trade rumors for the last two years even before re-signing with the Hawks a year ago.
The latest round of speculation has seen Collins’ name come up in rumors involving the Phoenix Suns and disgruntled forward Jae Crowder.
But a recent report from NBA insider Marc Stein pushes back against those reports a bit.
Stein also gives his read on what has been going on behind the scenes with the Hawks that would cause such a talented player as Collins, the longest-tenured member of the team, to constantly be available in a trade.
John Collins rumors not all due to Atlanta Hawks, insider says
In the November 20 edition of his newsletter, “The Stein Line”, Stein reiterates his stance from the summer that Collins appears to be one of, if not the most likely big-name player to be moved next. He says Collins was nearly dealt to the Sacramento Kings – to whom the Hawks traded wing Kevin Huerter for a package including rotation wing Justin Holiday and a first-round pick.
Stein adds that momentum is building for the two sides to finally follow through on the long-anticipated separation.
But it’s not likely to be to the Suns as reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Stein does say that the Hawks are still on Crowder, but he also gives some insight into the outside perceptions of Collins’ situation.
“I’m not sure it’s ALL been “shopping,” Stein replied to a question of why Collins is perpetually being in trade rumors. “Other teams have shown consistent interest, too. But the presumption is they want someone more defensive-minded … and that a fresh start would behoove Collins because it’s been years (with an S) of trade rumors.”
There were reports that the Hawks had reservations over giving Collins his five-year, $125 million contract. And that, at one point during early negotiations, Collins’ representatives made some push for him to be dealt away.
It even translated to a hot start to the regular season but has since cooled off offensively.
That being said, Stein’s note of the Hawks wanting a more defense-oriented 4 might not be lost on Collins who is posting the Hawks’ third-best efficiency differential and also the best defensive rating of his career at 110.2, per Cleaning The Glass. They are also posting a minus-3.7 net rating when he’s off the floor.
Charania noted in his report that this is expected to drag out for some time still, likely nearing the trade deadline or beyond.
Sentiments that Stein echoed in saying there are no clear-cut destinations for Collins.
At any rate, Collins has contributed to the third-placed Hawks’ 10-6 start to the campaign and figures to do so for some time yet.