John Collins Rumors: Hawks 'Remain Engaged' with Teams After Dejounte Murray Trade

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 30, 2022

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The Atlanta Hawks reportedly "remain engaged" in trade talks involving power forward John Collins after acquiring point guard Dejounte Murray in a blockbuster deal with the San Antonio Spurs.

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reported Thursday the Hawks are "signaling they are not done revamping the roster," which could include moving Collins, one of the franchise's cornerstones since it selected him in the first round of the 2017 NBA draft.

Atlanta reached the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals before falling short against the eventual NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks. They couldn't match that playoff success this past season, getting eliminated by the Miami Heat in the opening round.

In May, Hawks governor Tony Ressler lamented the team's lack of roster upgrades last offseason, when the front office mostly bet on continued improvement from its existing core.

"So yes, I think we should have tried to get better rather than bring back what we had," Ressler told reporters. "That won't happen again, by the way. It was a mistake, in my opinion."

Making a trade for Murray, a 25-year-old rising star who made his first All-Star appearance in 2022, to form a backcourt duo with Trae Young was the first of a few major moves Atlanta could make before the new campaign tips off.

Trading Collins would be another one, but the question is what the Hawks would be seeking in return that would represent an upgrade to the roster.

Their guard starters are now set with Young and Murray, they have a rim-protecting center in Clint Capela, and there's a solid wing group in place, led by De'Andre Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter.

In turn, on the surface it seems a proven two-way producer like Collins is already a pretty good fit, but the trade rumors have persisted.

New general manager Landry Fields explained last week the team was going to place an emphasis on defense this summer.

"The identity defensively has been, well that's something we're going to have to build into," Fields said. "That's been part of the reason why we haven't taken that step. We have to have an everyday hard-hat approach to our defensive capabilities."

Perhaps Collins could be moved in a deal for another stalwart at that end of the floor. It's hard to argue with the approach after the team ranked 26th in defensive efficiency in 2021-22, per ESPN.

That said, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic told HoopsHype's Michael Scotto on Wednesday the market for Collins has "decreased quite a bit" and the Hawks aren't going to move on from the 24-year-old Wake Forest product "for nothing."

So Collins could end up staying in Atlanta to open next season, and it could ultimately be one of those moves viewed in hindsight where the team is fortunate a trade wasn't made.


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