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John Collins Talks Hawks Future, Compares Situation to Kevin Durant's with Nets

Doric SamJanuary 9, 2023

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) drives shoots against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins is no stranger to trade rumors, so with the 2022 deadline looming, he's become apathetic about the usual process.

Collins was asked by The Athletic's Sam Amick if he hopes to be in a new uniform or still with the Hawks after the Feb. 9 trade deadline, and he replied, "I don't give a damn honestly, you know what I mean?"

When asked to further elaborate, the 25-year-old said he chooses not to put his focus toward things he can't control. He pointed to the offseason situation involving Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, who requested to be traded but ultimately ended up staying put:

"I come in and I play basketball, and whatever happens, happens because I don't control that side. I don't have any control over any decisions that get made, where I am and where I play. I don't have any control over that. I can say, 'Hey, I want to do this and I wanna do that,' and they can just do whatever they feel is fair. You saw it with Kevin Durant, right? He's begging for trade, and Brooklyn is like, 'Nah.' Not saying that I'm Kevin Durant, but it's just the mentality of 'Yeah, you can say whatever, you can make a public scene, you can do whatever (and it won't matter).'"

Collins re-signed with Atlanta on a five-year, $125 million contract before the 2021-22 season. With $78.5 million owed to him after this year, it's understandably difficult for the Hawks to find a team willing to take on his salary.

However, Amick noted that the Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards, Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks reportedly were among the teams interested in acquiring Collins.

In addition to Collins' hefty contract, he's also struggled throughout the early portion of this season. His 13.3 points per game are his lowest average since his rookie year in 2017-18, and he's shooting a career-worst 22.9 percent from three-point range.

At 19-21, the Hawks have failed to live up to the lofty expectations they had entering the year. Atlanta sits in 10th place in the Eastern Conference after hoping to transition to a contender following the offseason acquisition of Dejounte Murray. The long-term status of star point guard Trae Young has also recently come into question amid reported tension with head coach Nate McMillan.

Perhaps the best course for the Hawks would be to finally pull the trigger on a trade involving Collins that could recoup assets for this season or beyond.