There were plenty of notable and newsworthy comments from today’s Hawks media session. Kevin Huerter and Nate McMillan are both hopeful an extension gets done soon; Trae Young prioritized his physical health this offseason, and Clint Capela guaranteed the Hawks would make the playoffs. De’Andre Hunter told reporters he is close to 100%, but the most intriguing nugget to me was John Collins saying he didn’t have any conversations with other teams in free agency.
John Collins said he didn’t have any conversations with other teams in free agency. It was just the Hawks.
— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) September 27, 2021
In what was the biggest story for the Hawks all season, keeping Collins was the most crucial challenge Travis Schlenk had this offseason. JC wanted to be in Atlanta just as bad as the organization wanted him back. Schlenk made it apparent that he wanted Collins back, but other NBA teams were undoubtedly trying to wiggle their way into the sweepstakes. Regardless, the Hawks would have had the opportunity to match any contract he accepted.
In July, Shams Charania reported that many across the league that he had increased his value as a maximum contract-caliber player during the Hawks playoff run after he averaged almost 14 points and nine rebounds per game on 35.7% shooting from 3 in 18 postseason games.
Charania reported that Dallas, Miami, San Antonio, and Minnesota would all be expected to show interest in JC. Obviously, Shams received the information from someone who wanted the perception that Collins was a max-contract guy out there. About a month later, the Hawks and Collins agreed to a five-year, $125 million contract.
There was skepticism whether Collins received a max contract offer from another team, but it was clear he wanted to be in Atlanta. During today’s presser, we got confirmation that he was always going to resign with the Hawks.