Proposed trade swaps Hawks big man for $51M sharpshooter

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

If it feels as though we’ve been here before, we have. The Atlanta Hawks (11-7) are one of the more popular teams when it comes to trade rumors. And forward John Collins has been the man of the hour in that regard for two years. The latest round of rumors has had the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz both showing some interest in the big man.

Collins’ contract is said to be a sticking point for the Suns but the Jazz’s interest is another story, though finding a common ground has been difficult.

The Hawks reportedly offered Collins for Utah’s Lauri Markkanen but were rejected.

Of course, that does not mean a potential Collins-to-Utah scenario cannot play out and, this time of year, there is no shortage of suggestions including one that would see the Hawks take the familiar approach of quantity over quality.

The Atlanta Hawks could swap John Collins for a $51M sharpshooter

“Moving [Collins] to Utah could bring back multiple rotation pieces,” argues Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, “making Atlanta deeper overall while adding shooting to a team that ranks just 27th in three-point accuracy (32.0 percent) this season.”

Naturally, Swartz had an idea that certainly works on the books.

[Jordan] Clarkson (19.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 37.5 percent from three) would give the Hawks a terrific one-two punch off the bench with Bogdan Bogdanović and [Kelly] Olynyk (12.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 50.0 percent from three), who has been an incredible floor-spacer for the Jazz thus far.”

The Jazz has been a surprise going 12-8 to start the season, leaving them fourth in the Western Conference.

That has put a wrench in their projected plans to tank for Victor Wembanyama. Now, they can focus on trying to build a roster that can contend now while holding onto a plethora of picks from trading Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.

This is presumably where their interest in Collins, 25, comes in.

He still has two more guaranteed years and nearly $52 million on his deal with an additional $26-plus million in a player option for 2026.

Clarkson, 30, is the reigning Sixth Man of the year and is shooting the three-ball at the second-highest clip of his career on his second-most attempts. He’s earning over $13 million this season with more than $14 million due next season assuming he picks up his option which is no given seeing as how he’s doing it this year as a starter.

Olynyk, 31, would offer much of what the Hawks lost in Danilo Gallinari with additional grit.

The 6-foot-11 big man’s $12 million salary next season is not guaranteed so the Hawks could maneuver around his contract much as they did with Gallinari this summer using him as collateral for a separate deal if they wished.

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Surprisingly, this deal might fall apart the quickest because the draft compensation is simply too light.

Despite his constant presence on the trade block, the Hawks have are reportedly seeking a starting-level power forward/prospect and a first-round pick in any deal for the former 19th-overall pick out of Wake Forest. And he has maintained a valuable presence for the Hawks even doing it on defense this year.

We’ve known the rumors would resume once the season began if Collins didn’t start fast.

He did that but has since seen his usage rate sink to career-low levels and the same questions popping back up.

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Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that there is motivation tofind a resolution from the Hawks and Collins’ camp but added that nothing is imminent. In the meantime, Collins will continue to be a name mentioned in trade chatter.