Hawks' John Collins Says He's 'Definitely' in the Conversation for Max Contract

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 15, 2020

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) reacts during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Friday, March 6, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

John Collins still has one more year remaining on his rookie contract, but the 22-year-old is confident his body of work is worth a max extension from the Atlanta Hawks

Speaking to Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Collins explained why he is "definitely" in the conversation for a max deal. 

"When we're talking max numbers and money, I feel like I definitely (am in) the conversation to have earned that money with the Hawks specifically, but obviously I know there's business and we don't always get exactly what we want," he said. "But I want to be a Hawk, I want to stay with the Hawks."

A first-round pick by the Hawks in 2017, Collins has steadily improved his performance over the course of three seasons. He was a solid role player as a rookie with 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 57.6 percent from the field. 

After missing the first 15 games of the 2018-19 season with an ankle injury, Collins became a fixture in the starting lineup for head coach Lloyd Pierce upon returning. The Wake Forest alum led the team in scoring (19.5 points per game) and rebounding (9.8 per game). 

Just five games into this season, the NBA announced Collins had been suspended for 25 games after testing positive for a human growth hormone. He's been fantastic on the court as one of only two players, along with Karl-Anthony Towns, in the league averaging at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and shooting over 40 percent from three-point range. 

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Collins is owed $4.1 million next season, but he will be eligible for a rookie max extension. It's unclear how much the coronavirus pandemic will impact the NBA's salary cap next season, though Marc Berman of the New York Post reported it will be lowered from the current $109.1 million. 

Given what Collins could demand in an extension and the uncertainty around the cap, the Hawks could opt to wait until after next season to engage him in contract talks.