3 former Hawks thriving for their new teams in 2023-24

Atlanta Hawks, Cam Reddish. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks, Cam Reddish. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks, John Collins
Atlanta Hawks, John Collins. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks have made several personal decisions over the years that have been hotly debated at the time. And looking back at those deals after some time has passed can often produce different opinions, especially once the emotion has subsided. It’s all subjective. But, sometimes the decision to part is best for both parties.

John Collins thriving for Jazz after Hawks trade

John Collins’ tenure in Atlanta began as encouragingly as any in recent memory, with the former No. 19 overall pick in 2017 going on to record a 21-point, 10-rebound per game season by his third NBA season.

But things only devolved from there with Collins’ production and role in the offense diminishing with each passing season.

That contention bled into contract negotiations before he re-signed in 2022.

Even after Collins returned to Atlanta on that five-year, $125 million contract, trade rumors persisted while his spot in the pecking order continued to drop. Things came to a head last season. Collins posted career-worst numbers with 13.1 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 29.2% from beyond the arc.

The Hawks traded Collins this past offseason, jettisoning him to Utah in what is viewed as little more than a salary dump. They received veteran forward Rudy Gay and a second-round pick from the Jazz and generated a $25.3 million traded player exception with the deal.

Gay was waived just days after the Hawks acquired him and they have yet to utilize the exception that expires next July outside of adding veteran swingman Wesley Matthews.

Collins, meanwhile, is enjoying a bit of a bounce-back season.

He is averaging 14.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks while shooting a career-best 44.7% from beyond the arc. His 32-plus minutes are also the second-most of his career while he has maintained a starting role in Utah.

The Jazz are just 4-9, though, so all things come at a cost, even players rounding back into form.