Trae Young sends message after Hawks trade John Collins to Jazz

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

The longest-tenured player on the Atlanta Hawks roster is now Trae Young. He assumes the mantle after the Hawks traded away John Collins, sending him to the Utah Jazz in a move largely driven by the salary cap and luxury tax.

Atlanta got back veteran Rudy Gay and a future second-round pick in the deal but also acquired a $25.3 million trade exception that they can use for the next year if they so choose. And the belief is that the Hawks will still be players in the trade market this offseason, one year after they made a big splash to acquire Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs.

”To many crazyyy memories together,” Trae Young tweeted on June 26. “Brothers for Life”

This past offseason seemed to set the stage for a resurgence of the connection Collins had with Young earlier in his career which was lost in part due to the arrival of Clint Capela.

But it has not all been good times.

Collins once pushed back on Young’s style of play and has had a seemingly contentious relationship with the organization that let him explore restricted free agency before signing him to a five-year, $125 million contract.

There were even reports that Collins’ representation pushed for a trade during early negotiations for that deal. But the most persistent word about the situation was that the Hawks were more motivated than ever to find a new home for the former No. 19 overall pick (2017) after years of speculation.

Collins, who toured the summer pro-am circuit with Young and Murray, holds the former in high regard.

Related Story. John Collins sounds off on Trae Young. light

He was also high on how the Hawks were trending under new head coach Quin Snyder before the season ended.

The Hawks went 10-11 under Snyder but did win four of their final six games.

“You’ve been seeing he’s starting to implement more of just him into our system, into our organization,” Collins said in April. “It’s nice to see it paying off…We’re jelling and flowing well, and we’re going to continue to follow Coach.”

Atlanta Hawks have several options at power forward

The Hawks don’t have to replace Collins directly since they have Saddiq Bey and Jalen Johnson already in the fold. Bey was acquired at the trade deadline this past season and is an extension candidate. Of course, the Hawks posted a worse net rating with either of them on the floor with the starters instead of Collins.

Their net rating was plus-6.0 with Collins on the floor, minus-3.2 with Bey on the floor, and minus-71.2 (just 27 possessions), per Cleaning The Glass.

Next. Grade the trade: Hawks send John Collins to the Jazz. dark

The list of players who would fit into that trade exception is plentiful but proper fits are not and the specter of the luxury tax still looms large. A tumultuous season for the Hawks has carried right into the offseason.