Woj: Hawks 'As Motivated as Any Team' in NBA, Want Trade for Co-Star with Trae Young

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 21, 2022

MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 26: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts against the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round at FTX Arena on April 26, 2022 in Miami, Florida. 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 Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Landry Fields only just got promoted to general manager of the Atlanta Hawks, but he might have a busy offseason on his hands.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on SportsCenter (h/t Evan Sidery of BasketballNews.com) the Hawks are "as motivated as any team in the league to make a significant deal or deals" to improve their supporting cast around Trae Young or land a suitable co-star.

Wojnarowski added that John Collins is "very likely on the move somewhere this week" as part of that plan for Atlanta.

Rather than a sign of the franchise's arrival, the Hawks' appearance in the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals was a bit of a mirage. Atlanta won 43 games and lost in the first round of the playoffs this past season.

During his time as GM, Travis Schlenk did a good job of raising the franchise's ceiling. The postseason success two years ago doesn't come without the additions of Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams.

But the 2021-22 campaign made it clear the Hawks simply aren't good enough with their current squad to challenge the Eastern Conference's elite.

Young, Collins, Bogdanovic, Gallinari, De'Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter and Clint Capela all averaged double digits in scoring during the regular season. Come playoff time, however, the Hawks' offensive balance became a clear impediment because it showed the absence of a dynamic scorer who could ease the burden on Young.

The Miami Heat blanketed the two-time All-Star, who averaged 15.4 points on 31.9 percent shooting for the series. With Young neutralized, Atlanta was toast. Its offensive rating fell from 115.4 in the regular season—second-best in the league—to 104.1 in the playoffs, per NBA.com. For some perspective, the latter number would've ranked 29th in the regular season.

Trading Collins on its own probably won't be enough for the Hawks to land the second star they so clearly need.

The 24-year-old averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 2021-22. He also shot 52.6 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Collins is a very good player, and he still has three guaranteed years left on his contract. Still, the 6'9" forward hasn't made a star-type breakthrough to his point in his career.

By dealing Collins, Atlanta could at least add to its inventory of trade assets, thus making it a little easier to swing a significant swap down the road.