The ongoing saga of the Atlanta Hawks (19-22) and power forward John Collins has taken yet another turn with the team engaging a couple more suitors on a potential deal. We have already known of interest from both the Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns with the latter not wanting to take on the big man’s contract.
Collins has roughly $78 million coming to him over the next three years and the Suns were already reluctant to pay their own big man, Deandre Ayton.
There was a confirmed report that the Utah Jazz was interested in Collins’ services.
We now know that those talks got far enough to fetch a return that would fit previous reports of the Hawks’ asking price. This is in light that they are seeking something in the way of what the Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers got for Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, respectively.
John Collins discussed by Atlanta Hawks in potential deal for Utah Jazz duo
“The Jazz and Hawks have discussed a deal surrounding John Collins for [Malik] Beasley and [Jarred] Vanderbilt,” reports Yahoo! Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer, “though Utah has lobbied Atlanta for a first-round pick in addition to Collins to complete that framework.”
Atlanta sent three draft picks in addition to two swaps to the San Antonio Spurs for Dejounte Murray.
They recouped a first-rounder by trading Kevin Huerter to the Sacramento Kings. But an aversion to the luxury tax – at least for a non-tile-contending team – is out of the question for ownership. That leaves them with a lot of options in theory but few viable paths to making something happen that will make them better but not too expensive.
Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney reported that the Hawks were seeking a package similar to what the Jazz and Cavs got.
“Not quite like the Rudy Gobert or Donovan Mitchell trades,” an anonymous executive told Deveney, “but something in that neighborhood. And everyone else looks at him like he’s a guy who is owed $100 million over the next four years and is having the worst year of his career.
We have also had reports they are seeking a starting-caliber power forward and a draft pick.
Perhaps that has changed in light of those other deals. Though Collins’ play and being on the trade block for as long as he has been certainly won’t help them get to the loftier return.
He is averaging 13.3 points on a career-worst 57.8% true shooting highlighted by his 23.1% clip from beyond the arc. At his best, however, Collins has averaged over 21 points and 10 rebounds for an entire season while spacing the floor and protecting the rim.
Vanderbilt, 23, went to Utah in the Mitchell trade and is averaging 8.5 points on 61.5% true shooting with 8.1 boards, 2.8 assists, and 1.1 steals.
He is in the second year of a three-year, roughly $13 million pact.
Beasley, 26, is averaging 14 points on 54.4% true shooting while connecting on his triples at a 36%-clip in a down season. He is still adding 3.5 boards, 1.7 assists, and nearly one full steal per game while being tied for the league lead in appearances.
In the final guaranteed year of his deal, Beasley has a $16 million club option for next season.
Atlanta should be able to find something this year with several teams having confirmed interest now that Collins is further into his five-year contract. But if their asking price really is as high as suggested, and their targets remain in the incumbent teams’ plans, this situation could continue to drag out.
The longest-tenured player on the roster, Collins has said he no longer pays attention to the trade rumors. At the same time, the former 19th-overall pick in 2017 is also open to a change of scenery.
Whether that finally comes this season remains to be seen. But there do seem to be more teams poking around this time than before.