The Atlanta Hawks finally traded John Collins this offseason, sending him to the Utah Jazz for the paltry haul of Rudy Gay and a future second-round pick. While this looks like a loss for the Hawks, there are so many potential benefits for the franchise, especially if you look beyond this season.
It has been a long ride for Collins and the Hawks, there seemed to be almost as many trade rumors about Collins as he has made baskets. They seemed to intensify after Collins signed his extension and then failed to produce up to that contract value.
This meant that the Hawks seemed to be locked into a contract that was going to hamper their potential to compete for a championship. However, with this salary dump, the Hawks got Rudy Gay’s $6.5 million deal, a player option. While Gay is not going to play much for the Hawks if they even keep him, the franchise got out of the final $77 million, and three years of his deal.
There are so many more benefits for the Atlanta Hawks with this trade.
The first benefit is that the Hawks have generated a $25,3 million trade exception with this deal. They will be able to use this moving forward to fill any positional needs as the season goes on, which could mean the difference between a series win or another loss.
On top of that, the Hawks have shed $19 million of salary from their books from this season. They are no longer as hamstrung with what they can do in free agency, or with trades that they can make when the new CBA comes into full force.
The Hawks have also got other key squad members coming into extension territory. Dejounte Murray, Onyeka Okongwu, and Saddiq Bey are all eligible for extensions to their current deals. Having an extra $26.5 million for the next two seasons less on the books makes these conversations easier between the players and the front office.
It also means that there is more court time to go around for the team’s big men. There is a case for Okongwu to start beside Clint Capela in a setup similar to the Jazz under Quin Snyder. He had Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors playing alongside each other and guided the team to the best record in the NBA in the 2020-21 season.
It also could mean that Bey, a player who can score in bunches, could start and space the floor for the All-Star caliber backcourt, helping the team. On top of that, Jalen Johnson and AJ Griffin will also see more court time which will help with their development, adding further depth to the roster.
Like the Kevin Huerter trade, this move was a true salary dump and it showed that the Hawks carried the can way too long on this deal. However, the hidden gems that this trade is going to unearth over the next few seasons are going t make this deal look like a winner for the Atlanta Hawks.