The Hawks should be among the more active teams at this year’s trade deadline. They have several pieces that could be on the move as they aim to improve their roster for the second half, but none will be more talked about than John Collins.
The Hawks’ power forward has been the subject of trade rumors over the last three years, and the team has opted to hold onto him. This year feels a little different, given Collins is amid the worse statistical season of his career since he was a rookie. However, according to Chris Haynes, the Hawks are still “comfortable” holding onto him if the right deal doesn’t come along before the trade deadline.
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) January 24, 2023
I wrote an opinionated piece on this very topic, and I’m happy to say it at least looks as if the Hawks are thinking exactly what I’m thinking. Unless they can find a way to make their team better for this season and next by moving Collins, there’s no point in selling him while his value is at its lowest.
The Hawks power forward’s value has never been lower. There are rumors that Atlanta isn’t looking for a first-round pick in return for his services any longer. Most hypothetical trades look more like a salary dump rather than an attempt to improve the team.
I know it’s the nature of the business, and the Hawks have already proven they care way too much about their bottom line by dealing Kevin Huerter in the offseason, but moving Collins just to shed salary would send a terrible message to the team. That’s the kind of move that could result in everything being blown up.
Dejounte Murray will be a free agent following next season. How are the Hawks going to possibly convince him to stay if they’ve already shown they aren’t fully committed to winning? By trading Collins to save money, the team is going to be worse this season and probably next as well. That would likely result in Murray’s exit via trade or free agency, and the writing would be on the wall for Trae Young. He could very well ask for a trade out of Atlanta, and at that point, I’m not sure how the Hawks wouldn’t oblige. The roster would be barren, and most of their draft picks are elsewhere. They would have little choice but to enter a total rebuild, not even a decade after their last complete rebuild.
The question now becomes how much the Hawks value Collins. In a perfect world, they would unload his contract, pick up at least a first-round pick, and then parlay that into something that better fits the current roster. Collins remains a valuable piece, but it’s become evident that he’s not the type of player the Hawks need right now. I think a team will eventually give in to the Hawks’ asking price and Collins will be dealt, but I’m glad it looks as if the organization isn’t going to move on from him for nothing.
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