The Atlanta Hawks (22-22) are riding a three-game winning streak and the vibes are immaculate in the wake of their latest victory, a 121-113 resounding victory over the Miami Heat. They are 5-2 in their last seven games amid a stretch that will see them play at home just five times in 19 games before the February 9 trade deadline.
Some pundits continue to mention them as a team to keep an eye on as we get closer to that date.
Hypothetical scenarios have gotten as wild as projecting Trae Young could seek his exit.
We still seem quite a ways away from that but teammate John Collins has been in trade rumors for two years with recent reports being his camp has been given permission to seek a deal. We also now know of another rival that has at least considered factoring Collins into their plans.
Hawks’ John Collins targeted in potential three-team deal with Cavs, Jazz
According to NBA correspondent Marc Stein (subscription required), Collins has come up in discussions for the Cleveland Cavaliers as they seek out wing help. Collins is, of course, not a wing but he has been on the radar for the Utah Jazz who have unexpectedly gone from tank candidate to playoff contender.
Shams Charania of The Athletic says Utah has been the team most actively pursuing Collins with the Washington Wizards also actively keeping tabs. But Stein says Cleveland has eyes for Jazz guard Malik Beasley and could offer swingman Caris LeVert to Atlanta to make everything work.
LeVert is averaging 12.3 points on 51.8% true shooting – both his lowest in several seasons – with 4.0 rebounds, and 3.6 assists this season.
On a positive note, his 35.3% clip from deep this season is his best mark in three years.
Stein adds that discussions with Utah have snagged upon the Jazz’s request for additional draft compensation to take on the remaining three years and $78 million on Collins’ contract. It’s a similar issue the Phoenix Suns have had with Collins despite their reported interest amid a change in ownership.
That would make the deal above work and Utah’s demand for a first-round pick even more understandable — Collins is the best player in the deal but Beasley and Vanderbilt are both very valuable players in their own right as is LeVert.
It’s just the latest twist in Collins’ story.
Mired in the worst season of his career, Collins has averaged 14 points on 58.3% true shooting with 7.4 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, and 1.1 assists over the last seven games. He has been on the trade block even before the Atlanta Hawks signed him to a five-year, $125 million contract that could have been one of the deals former team president Travis Schlenk regretted.
Reports that Collins would welcome a change of scenery have been accompanied by others noting the Hawks have granted him permission to seek a trade, seemingly, after failing to reach one on their own to this point though they have been openly taking calls for some time.
Winning usually cures everything. But, for the very unsettled Hawks, it just serves as a band-aid until the next bit of outside controversy.