Woj: John Collins' Contract a 'Hindrance' for Hawks at NBA Trade Deadline

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 19, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JANUARY 13: John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks looks on in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on January 13, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. 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 Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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Teams across the NBA are reportedly reluctant to take on Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins' contract in a potential trade.

Speaking on NBA Countdown, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski (h/t Rory Maher of HoopsRumors.com) called Collins' contract a "hindrance," since teams aren't thrilled at the prospect of paying him about $25 million per year for the next three seasons:

Wojnarowski specifically mentioned the Utah Jazz, noting they would also want a draft pick attached with Collins, but Hawks general manager Landry Fields reportedly doesn't view Collins as a salary dump.

Over the past couple of seasons, Collins' name has regularly come up in the rumor mill, and that is despite the fact that Atlanta signed him to a five-year, $125 million contract extension in 2021.

When the Hawks inked Collins to that deal, they were coming off a Cinderella run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Also, Collins had set career highs one year earlier, averaging 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.

Collins' production has dropped precipitously since then, though, bottoming out this season to its worst levels since his rookie year.

Following the acquisition of guard Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs, Collins has dropped even further down the offensive pecking order, which is unquestionably led by All-Star guard Trae Young.

Collins is averaging just 13.3 points per game this season, which is his lowest scoring output since his rookie campaign. He is also shooting a career-low 50.4 percent from the field and 24.4 percent from three-point range.

The 25-year-old forward is only fifth on the team in scoring, which isn't good enough when taking his contract into account.

It is understandable why the Hawks would want to move on from Collins, but given his current play, it is also easy to see why a team may not be willing to take on his contract for at least two more seasons beyond 2022-23.

Collins has played at a much higher level in the past and could conceivably bounce back in a different situation with better opportunities, but trading for him would be a roll of the dice.

Although they are only in eighth place in the Eastern Conference at 23-22, the Hawks have the talent and potential to be contenders. That has started to show recently, as they are on a four-game winning streak and have won five of their past six outings.

If that keeps up, the Hawks may be more hesitant to make any major changes, although Collins' status will likely rely on whether other NBA teams becoming more willing to view him as an asset rather than an albatross.