Hawks: Travis Schlenk comments on the future of John Collins

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As I talked about yesterday, deciding whether or not to extend John Collins will be Travis Schlenk’s most critical season of the offseason. Collins has shown improvements in all areas each season since being drafted back in 2017, but he wants a max contract or something close to it. The Hawks will have to decide if he’s worth that.

Surely, some team will offer him a contract with 100+ million in total, and Atlanta will have the opportunity to match. Retaining Collins would be ideal, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to value. Overpaying players in the NBA is the quickest way to close a championship window, and Collins has yet to prove he can really become a #2 or even a #3 on a championship roster. Still, he’s an integral piece to this Hawks team, and his selfless attitude did not go unnoticed this season.

Last season, Collins put up All-Star caliber numbers, averaging 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds on 58.3% shooting from the field and 40.1% from behind the arc. This season, those numbers took a dip, down to 17.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest. The shooting efficiency, however, was much of the same — 55.6% from the field and 39.9% from deep — showing his willingness to take a step back for the good of the team, which is part of the reason why the Hawks had so much success this season. Travis Schlenk acknowledged that yesterday, via Sarah K. Spencer of The AJC, and also added that he sees no reason why the Hawks wouldn’t want Collins back next season.

There’s no questioning Collins had the right mindset heading into a contract year. He didn’t worry about numbers or leaving money on the table; he cared about one thing — winning — and the Hawks were able to do that better than they ever have in franchise history. That will do him a lot of good come free agency this summer.

Schlenk isn’t the only general manager who will come to that conclusion. We know Collins is capable of scoring 20+ points and grabbing 10+ boards on ultra-efficient shooting numbers because he’s done it before. What we didn’t know coming into this season is if he could turn those statistics into wins; now, we do.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a team decided to offer Collins a max this offseason, and if that happens, I’m not sure how the Hawks would respond. It’s possible they don’t match in that scenario, but it will be absolutely gut-wrenching to allow Collins to go to another team for nothing, given how important he has been to this rebuild and his willingness to do whatever it takes to win.

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