The Atlanta Hawks traded John Collins to the Utah Jazz in an apparent salary-clearing move this offseason. Finally, after speaking on the trade only briefly in an interview, Collins had a message for fans.
“Atl…..I know….. I took my time with this one. But this one definitely stung,” Collins’ Instagram post began. “Being thrust into the fire as a kid, having no clue of the journey in front of me. It’s amazing how 6 years can fly by. Atlanta, Thank you for the Swag, the Culture, the LOVE, and thank you for embracing the kid with open arms.”
Collins also thanked the organization for “sticking with me, even at my lowest” and his “brothers and OGs” with whom he’s shared the court before acknowledging “business is business”
“I can only hope ya’ll love me like I do ya’ll,” he said. “Until next time… …BAPTIST OUT!”
Collins was the No. 19 overall pick by the Hawks in 2017 and was the longest-tenured player on the roster before the trade. At his peak, he averaged 21.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 1.5 assists, and shooting 40.1% from beyond the arc.
His numbers only trended downward from that point, though, with new additions only serving to further limit his opportunities within the offense. With his numbers cratering this past season – 13.1/6.5/1.2, 29.2% 3P – the Hawks finally made a move that was long-rumored, with trade speculation following Collins for the last two-plus seasons.
He even re-signed with the Hawks as a restricted free agent after the 2021 season amid speculation about his long-term future in Atlanta.
The Hawks were fresh off an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Hawks GM Landry Fields opted for ‘financial flexibility’ in John Collins trade
“John was a key contributor [to] our team over the past six seasons and played an instrumental role in helping us become a regular playoff contender,” Hawks general manager Landry Fields said in a statement released through the team on July 7. “We would like to thank him for his professionalism and leadership over the years and we wish him the best in Utah.”
Fields also made it clear they were looking to create wiggle room under the salary cap, room which they have since used to try acquiring Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam.
The Hawks generated a $25.3 million trade exception in the Collins trade.
“Being able to create financial flexibility moving forward was a major priority for us,” Fields continued. “The added flexibility will give us greater optionality as we look at opportunities to improve our team.”
So far, the Hawks have only added bench depth and draft picks to the roster. While that could still change, they are said to be content with the current roster heading into the season, putting additional emphasis on head coach Quin Snyder to be the potential game-changer he was hired to be with a full offseason to implement his system.
The Hawks were a noticeably different team once he took over last season. They just have to hope the additional time will breed more success.