The Atlanta Hawks have been moving parts around since the middle of the 2023 season. Changes have included a head coach replacement, a relative front office overhaul, and some player personnel deals this offseason. The changes have been necessary and have continued into the offseason, a welcome change compared to the last regime.
Historically the Hawks have had several strange situations and missed opportunities where they’ve held on to player personnel for far past their expiration date or should have never signed them, to begin with. Several recent examples come to mind but some go back far beyond the botched trade of this offseason.
Perhaps the pure impetus of this list, John Collins had a strange tenure in Atlanta that finally ended with his recent trade to Utah. Collins signed a 5-year/$125 million deal with the Hawks in 2021. Famously, Collins was being shopped before the ink was even dry.
Despite this, the Hawks were unable to move him until years later for a very marginal return. Over those years in Atlanta, Collins saw a steady decline in usage and performance. It was clear he didn’t fit in with his role finishing the 2023 season with 13.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game splits, averaging 29 percent from three. A far cry from his 2019-2020 peak season of 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds, and 40 percent from long range.
Over the several years they had Collins, the Hawks, it seemed, were waiting for the perfect trade that ultimately never came. The return they eventually saw for Collins became Rudy Gay and a future second-round pick, the biggest asset the deal gave Atlanta was the $25.3 million trade exception. The deal was basically a salary dump.