John Collins has been at the forefront of Hawks’ trade rumors for the better part of the last two years, despite nothing coming to fruition and him recently agreeing to a lucrative 5-year deal. Jake Fischer reported before the Thursday night that the team wanted to move him before the draft. And the night before the event kicked off, the Hawks were once again mentioned in trade rumors — this time, it was a deal that would be centered around Collins and Dejounte Murray.
Well, the draft came and went as the organization stood by and used their No. 16 overall pick to select sharp shooter AJ Griffin from Duke. As the team gets deeper into the offseason, it is all but confirmed that JC won’t be suiting up for the Hawks next season. But the situation is reaching a climax. According to Chris Kirschner of The Atheltic, Collins is already out the door.
“He’s done in Atlanta,” a source close to Collins said.
Who could blame him either? He’s been a consummate professional since he entered the league and has sacrificed more than anyone on the team. His role has slowly diminished as he’s accumulated years in the Association, despite him being one of the most efficient players in basketball.
Travis Schlenk, Landry Fields, and company have obviously decided that Collins isn’t the co-star Atlanta needs next to Trae Young to raise the Larry O’Brien trophy. That’s not to say he isn’t a championship-caliber player either because he is; however, he isn’t going to be the second-best player on a roster making it to the Finals.
Still, it seems the JC era is over. It’s quite frankly sad because he’s the most likable player I’ve rooted for in a long time. He’s the prototypical ‘team-first’ guy that fans immediately took a liking to.
This is also probably not great news for the Hawks, who will probably lose a bit of leverage when it comes to trade discussions. Still, there is no shortage of suitors for Collins. Everyone wants a player of his caliber on their squad, making this inevitable move even more painful.