In an interview with The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner and Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Sarah K. Spencer, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk talked about various topics. He touched on the injuries of De’Andre Hunter and Kris Dunn, player development evaluations, Nate McMillan, the trade deadline, and most importantly, John Collins‘ place in Atlanta.
There have been several trade conversations involving John Collins since last year’s trade deadline, and the Timberwolves are the latest interested team. According to Shams Charania, “Minnesota has shown interest in power forwards around the league, including Atlanta’s John Collins and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, sources said. Both players have significant asking prices in the marketplace.”
Collins’ trade value is high, but his free agency value might be even higher, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, “John Collins ranks as the No. 1 power forward in free agency, and teams like Dallas, Miami, and New York are well-positioned to sign him to an offer sheet starting at $28 million for the first season.”
In the interview with Schlenk, Chris Kirschner wrote that Collins’ asking price had been at least a lottery-level pick. Minnesota doesn’t have that, as Golden State owns their first-round selection. However, there are other teams that can put together enticing offers, like the Warriors themselves, who could use another star to pair with Steph Curry. But by now, all potential suitors are aware the Hawks won’t just give him away for nothing.
Travis Schlenk insisted Collins is apart of the team’s plans. They feel they can make a competitive offer in free agency, and in no way are they worried about letting him walk for nothing. The Hawks can match any offer, and even if a team is willing to go higher than Atlanta’s bid, a sign-and-trade could be in the cards.
“John’s a big part of our team — I think he’s second on the team in scoring right now — we all know how effective he can be offensively with his ability to finish in the lane and to shoot the ball from the perimeter,” Schlenk said. “So we still view John as a part of our team, certainly. He made the decision this fall to go to restricted free agency, and that was his choice and obviously, we respect it. But we’re going to have the opportunity to match any offer he gets. We’ll certainly make him an offer in free agency as well, and he’ll have the ability to see if he can get an offer from another team. But at the end of the day, we view him as part of our team, and I don’t see a restricted free agency situation where we would just let him walk for nothing.”
Schlenk noted that he actively listens to all trade offers on each of the team’s players, not just Collins. He said it is to get a sense of what value he had, acknowledging several teams are interested in the 23-year-old power forward. The Hawks general manager basically said all the right things but did hedge when he noted that any decision would be made if it benefited Atlanta in the short and long term. Expect no serious offers until about a week or so out from the deadline, though.