John Collins Responds to Hawks Trade Rumors: 'This Is Where I Want to Be'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 12, 2022

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) dunks during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Despite speculation about a trade, John Collins remains committed to the Atlanta Hawks.

"I don't need to talk about it because I've talked about it enough," Collins told Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. "This is where I want to be."

The forward called it "frustrating" when mentioned in reports ahead of the trade deadline.

Shams Charania of The Athletic recently listed him as a possible match in a trade for Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons, reporting that Collins has "grown increasingly frustrated over his role in Atlanta."

The 24-year-old signed a five-year, $125 million deal to remain in Atlanta last offseason, but the 2021-22 campaign has not gone as expected.

After reaching the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago, the Hawks are just 17-22 to start this season, fourth-worst in the conference. The defense is especially an issue, which Collins discussed after last week's 134-118 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers:

Chris Kirschner @ChrisKirschner

There have been numerous games (including tonight) where players and coaches have cited effort and urgency defensively as a major issue, so I asked John Collins why he thinks this keeps happening when we're almost halfway through the season. <br><br>He gave a really great quote ⬇️ <a href="https://t.co/vpSw8YRiaz">pic.twitter.com/vpSw8YRiaz</a>

Atlanta currently ranks 27th in the NBA in defensive efficiency.

Collins remains effective with averages of 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, but his 12.1 field goal attempts per game is just 79th in the NBA. His 20.0 usage rate would be his lowest since his rookie year in 2017-18.

Trae Young is obviously the go-to option for the Hawks offensively, but there are also several other players taking on significant roles. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Cam Reddish and De'Andre Hunter all average at least 10 shots per game, while Kevin Huerter and Clint Capela are also heavily involved.

As Collins explained, that's still not the issue for him.

"I'm not sitting here complaining and saying I need more touches of the ball, or I need to score more points or need more shots. I've never complained about that," he told Kirschner. "I just want to be put in the best position to succeed, and that's it."

While some coaching adjustments could help both the player and team, it's clear the forward does not plan to leave Atlanta any time soon.