John Collins Rumors: Hawks Intend to Match Contract Offers in Free Agency

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIMarch 19, 2021

Boston Celtics' Robert Williams III (44) defends against Atlanta Hawks' John Collins (20) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The Atlanta Hawks are preparing to match any contract offer given to power forward John Collins this offseason if the restricted free agent isn't dealt by the March 25 trade deadline.  

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Atlanta has made their intentions clear and have informed any clubs inquiring on his availability of the plan. That could make the trade price for Collins considerably high after the Hawks were unable to reach an extension with him last December. 

The 23-year-old is averaging 18.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 41 games this season. 

On Tuesday, ESPN's Tim Bontemps spoke to anonymous NBA executives to get a better sense of the Hawks' strategy with Collins at the deadline but didn't get too clear of a picture.

Said the Eastern Conference exec: 

"They're worried he's getting maxed, and they're putting it out there they are willing to pay him if he gets a max but won't be thrilled about it. I think they'd like to buy, but not sure there's a lot to buy or what they buy it with [Kevin] Huerter and picks, I guess, is the package, but what is that buying you?"

Windhorst makes it clear the Hawks are either dealing Collins now or hanging onto him long-term. 

At 21-20, Atlanta is on a seven-game winning streak and in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Collins has been a major part of that resurgence. The Wake Forest product is shooting 48.9 percent from the field since the beginning of March and his 7.9 rebounds per game over that stretch mark his highest average in any month this season. 

The Hawks drafted Collins No. 19 overall in 2017 and tried to build their frontcourt around him. The addition of big man Clint Capela has changed his role a bit this year, but Collins continues to produce at an impressive clip. 

Atlanta won't be giving him up easily—if at all.