Hawks Rumors: John Collins Trade a Possibility to Help ATL Land Lottery Draft Pick

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 13, 2022

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 23: John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts after making a shot against the Charlotte Hornets in the first quarter during their game at Spectrum Center on January 23, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks are just outside of the 2022 NBA draft lottery picks, but that may change if they have their way before June 23.

The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported Atlanta is "looking to add a lottery pick either by outright trading John Collins or also including" the No. 16 pick.

The Hawks fell back to earth in 2021-22 after making the Eastern Conference Finals the year before. Winning 43 games and losing to the Miami Heat in the first round was a bitter pill to swallow.

Atlanta's performance also laid bare the need for reinforcements, which will be difficult for general manager Travis Schlenk to acquire.

The Athletic's Chris Kirschner wrote in April that Collins "has to be considered the likeliest person to move" among the team's trade assets. A deal involving the 24-year-old could be mutually beneficial.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported in January that Collins "has grown increasingly frustrated over his role in Atlanta." He attempted the second-fewest shots of his career (11.9 per game) this season and saw his usage rate (20.5 percent) fall to its lowest number since his rookie campaign, per Basketball Reference.

In new surroundings, Collins might get to feature more heavily in the offense.

The Hawks, meanwhile, could gain some financial flexibility depending on what they'd receive in return.

Collins is owed $75.4 million guaranteed over the next three years and has a $26.6 million player option for 2025-26.

Atlanta has Danilo Gallinari (unrestricted) and De'Andre Hunter (restricted) hitting free agency in 2023. Bogdan Bogdanovic will be on the market at the same time if he declines his $18 million player option for 2023-24. Then it will be time to potentially give Onyeka Okongwu a new deal in 2024 upon the expiration of his rookie contract.

The cost of keeping this roster together will be high on its own before factoring in any outside additions.

If the Hawks fail to get a player of equal value to Collins, then Schlenk could at least open enough salary cap space to pursue a star through free agency or a trade down the line. That would presumably be the aim if Atlanta wants to use Collins to move up in the draft.