The saga of the Atlanta Hawks (19-22) and sixth-year forward John Collins is full of twists and turns. Despite some trepidation about paying the 25-year-old big man, the Hawks did just that and have seemingly been trying to get out of it ever since. That has led to endless trade speculation and reports of the Hawks actively fielding calls for his services.
Atlanta has been confirmed to have had talks with the Utah Jazz that included some rudimentary framework for a potential deal while the Phoenix Suns among others have also had their interest confirmed.
But we might now have an even better idea of what the Hawks are seeking in return for Collins.
Heavy Sports reported that the Hawks were seeking a package commensurate with other recent high-profile deals but Yahoo! Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer suggests otherwise.
John Collins was offered up for a prospect and draft compensation by the Atlanta Hawks
“In the offseason, the Hawks pitched…Collins to New Orleans for Trey Murphy and first-round draft compensation,” Fischer reports amid a slew of other notes that included the details of the possible deal with the Jazz.
The Hawks reportedly had an interest in Jazz breakout star Lauri Markkanen, a move that would signal they are trying to upgrade the roster.
Offering Collins for Murphy sends a different message.
Murphy, 22, is having a breakout season in just his second year averaging 12.4 points on 64.2% true shooting while knocking down over 40% of his triples despite a significant increase in his attempts along with his playing time this season.
He has started 29 of his 39 performances for the Pels who currently sit third in the Western Conference. And, while he doesn’t offer much in the form of creating for himself or others with 78.8% of his makes coming off an assist and averaging 1.3 assists per game – he does create extra possessions with 1.0 steals a night.
Murphy, the 17th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, is a less experienced player than Markannen who showed signs of his breakout last year in what was his fifth NBA season.
It also seems lofty to expect Murphy to be more reliable than Collins in high-leverage situations.
But the youngster gained valuable playoff experience last season averaging 5.3 points on 64% true shooting and knocking down 47.4% of his triples in the first round before the Pelicans were dispatched in six games by the Suns.
This would seem to suggest that, if the Hawks had their way, they would have shipped out Collins instead of Kevin Huerter who was sent to the Sacramento Kings in part to duck the luxury tax. If that is more of a guiding factor than improving the team, the Hawks could be stuck in sports purgatory before they know it.
There is already a lot of change coming to the front office. It is going to be interesting to see the inevitable impact it all has on the roster and Collins who has said he is open to a trade.
Next up for the Hawks is a road date with the Indiana Pacers — another potential Collins suitor — as part of a two-game road trip.