The reviews on the Atlanta Hawks offseason are rolling in with training camp drawing closer, and they are not exactly glowing.
“The Hawks look like they’ll once again finish in the middle of the East after not really doing much this summer,” wrote Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report on September 17. “Dumping John Collins’ contract on the Utah Jazz for a 2026 second-round pick was a huge disappointment, even if Collins’ role had declined each of the few years.”
Atlanta also generated a $25.3 million trade exception with the trade.
Swartz lists the Hawks among seven teams that “blew” it this offseason. He went on to say that the additions the Hawks made – most notably veterans Wesley Matthews and Patty Mill as well as rookie Kobe Bufkin – were “minor”.
He also points out the lack of a resolution on the futures of Saddiq Bey and Onyeka Okongwu, both of whom are heading for restricted free agency next offseason.
Bey figures to at least get a chance to replace Collins if he’s not already the front-runner while Okongwu’s next up at center, though he is still stuck behind Clint Capela.
“The Hawks have to hope that a full training camp with Quin Snyder (who went 10-11 after taking over the job last season) will make a true difference,” Swartz continued. “For now, there’s more questions than answers in Atlanta, a team that still looks like a .500 squad again this year.”
Atlanta might not be done, though.
They held trade talks with the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers regarding forward De’Andre Hunter, who the Dallas Mavericks also had an interest in, though not on his current $90 million price tag.
Dallas was also mentioned in connection to Capela. They were said to be interested in helping facilitate the Hawks’ long-rumored trade for Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam.
The lack of a splash this offseason is not indicative of a missed opportunity for the Hawks’ front office. There is still time for them to make moves to improve the roster even further. And they are clearly on the search for those upgrades as evidenced by their pursuit of a trade for the two-time All-Star, Siakam.
Overlooking John Collins’ contributions could be big mistake for Hawks
The “disappointment” of losing Collins may not resonate with those who only saw Collins as his box score coming off his worst season as an established pro during which he averaged 13.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists last season, shooting 29.2% from beyond the arc.
Still, Atlanta posted a plus-0.1 net rating when Collins manned his normal spot at the 4, per Cleaning The Glass. And they went 4-7 in games that he missed last season.
Replacing him with Bey or third-year man Jalen Johnson might not be as simple as on paper.
Bey figures to be a better shooter, though Collins has a 40%-shooting season from deep to his credit. And, while Johnson could bring a different level of playmaking and physicality, Collins has a 20-point, 10-rebound season to his name and still shot better than the former even in his worst season in the NBA.
Snyder has been described as a “game-changer” by Trae Young, and Dejounte Murray has raved about the depth of communication with the Hawks head coach. The Hawks need all of that to be true if they are as comfortable rolling into the regular season as is as they say.