John Collins, Hawks Reportedly Won't Reach Contract Extension Before Deadline

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IDecember 21, 2020

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) dunks past Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura (8), of Japan, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 6, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Atlanta Hawks were unable to reach an agreement with John Collins on a contract extension by Monday's 6 p.m. ET deadline, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Collins told reporters earlier in the day he "would be a little disappointed" if the two sides ultimately failed to work out a deal. Instead, he will become a restricted free agent.

The Hawks drafted Collins 19th overall in the 2017 NBA draft out of Wake Forest, and he quickly became a presence in Atlanta's frontcourt. After averaging 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds during his rookie season, he posted 21.6 points 10.1 boards per game just two years later in 2019-20.

As the Hawks retooled their roster with Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Onyeka Okongwu and Clint Capela, getting a new contract for Collins was next on the to-do list for general manager Travis Schlenk. Talks on a new deal were reportedly ongoing as of Thanksgiving with the opening of training camp rapidly approaching.

For his part, Collins never shied away from the business side of dealing with the Hawks, either.

"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," Collins told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Sarah K. Spencer in May.

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The 23-year-old now enters the 2020-21 season in the fourth year of his rookie contract, which sees his salary increase to $4.1 million.

The 2021 offseason was shaping up to be a free-agent bonanza, with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Paul George, Victor Oladipo and Rudy Gobert all eligible to hit the market. Instead, many of the top pieces are coming off the board, thus leaving the teams that had preserved salary-cap space with limited options.

Because of that, Collins could benefit in a big way if his game takes another step forward.