John Collins Trade Rumors: Rival Teams 'Monitoring' Market for Hawks PF

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2021

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) dunks in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, in Atlanta. The Hawks won 128-120. (AP Photo/Brett Davis)
Brett Davis/Associated Press

John Collins' future with the Atlanta Hawks may be in question.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Tuesday that "teams are monitoring" the 23-year-old forward, who turned down an extension from Atlanta last month and is schedule for restricted free agency this offseason.

At some point, the Hawks will have to make some decisions about which players are core pieces and which players are expendable. Trae Young is the superstar, and it's hard to imagine players like Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari—both signed this offseason—will go anywhere soon. 

Clint Capela has played well and is the team's best option at center, so he's likely to stick around. And De'Andre Hunter has made a major leap in his second season and looks like a potential sidekick star for Young. 

Collins won't be cheap to keep around this offseason. He's only 23 and is averaging 16.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while shooting 40.4 percent from three. He's easily the most valuable trade chip the Hawks would realistically consider parting with this season, so it isn't a surprise that teams might be trying to pry him free. 

In an ideal world, the 8-8 Hawks would keep Collins, make the playoffs this year and sign him to a long-term extension in the offseason. But the Hawks already have 10 players under contract for next season, while Kris Dunn has a $5 million player option that would bring them up to 11 commitments. Signing Collins to the contract he'll demand as a restricted free agent will almost assuredly take the Hawks into the luxury tax. 

They could clear some cap space via trades, but a max contract extension for Young is on the horizon, while one could be coming for Hunter if he continues at his current trajectory as well. 

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

It's a fascinating situation for the Hawks. Losing a talented 4 like Collins who has grown as a shooter and is an athletic, rangy defender is hardly ideal, but it might be in the team's best interest to trade him before the March 25 deadline.