John Collins Trade Rumors: Celtics, Bulls Among Recent Suitors for Hawks Star

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 29, 2022

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

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins has reportedly piqued the interest of multiple teams on the trade market in recent weeks.

According to Matt Moore of The Action Network, the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings have all checked in on Collins.

Moore noted that while the Hawks were shopping both Collins and veteran forward Danilo Gallinari leading up to the 2022 NBA draft, nothing materialized due largely to a tepid market.

Collins, 24, has been a constant subject of trade rumors over the past couple of years, and the whispers grew louder following an up-and-down 2021-22 season for the Hawks.

Atlanta signed Collins to a five-year, $125 million extension after helping the team go on a Cinderella run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021, but last season didn't go according to plan for Collins or the Hawks as a whole.

The Hawks barely reached the playoffs with a 43-39 record and got eliminated in the first round by the Miami Heat.

Meanwhile, Collins had his lowest scoring average since his rookie season with 16.2 points per game to go along with 7.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.2 three-pointers made and 1.0 block. He also shot a career-low 52.6 percent from the field.

Collins had an even tougher go in the playoffs, averaging just 9.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in five games.

There was clearly a disconnect between Collins and the Hawks last season, as Shams Charania of The Athletic reported in January that Collins had grown "increasingly frustrated" with his role and "challenged the Hawks locker room on several occasions."

Chris Kirschner of The Athletic added fuel to the fire last week, reporting that a source close to Collins said he is "done in Atlanta."

While Collins has some deficiencies, particularly on the defensive end, the 6'9" forward could be a big-time addition for any number of teams.

He is just two years removed from averaging a career-high 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds in 41 games during the 2019-20 season, showing what he can do when utilized properly.

The Celtics, Bulls and Kings would likely all feature Collins prominently, although to varying degrees.

Boston reached the NBA Finals last season before falling to the Golden State Warriors, and while Collins would undoubtedly be a starter, he would probably be the third scoring option behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

The Bulls were a playoff team last season, but they lack a true power forward, so Collins would be an ideal fit and perhaps the No. 2 scoring option behind DeMar DeRozan unless Zach LaVine returns in free agency.

Sacramento is in the midst of a 16-year playoff drought and could use a splashy addition like Collins to get back on track.

Collins would give the Kings one of the NBA's most exciting frontcourt duos alongside Domantas Sabonis, and few teams would be able to match up well with them.

Although the Collins-Hawks relationship hasn't been at its best recently, trading him would leave Atlanta with a huge hole on the roster and no clear No. 2 scoring option behind All-Star guard Trae Young.