John Collins is a name that many teams have been checking in on since the offseason. To this point, it doesn’t look there has been any traction towards a trade. Still, the list of potential suitors will only continue to grow as the trade deadline approaches, especially after he and the Hawks could not agree to a contract extension, making him a restricted free agent this coming offseason.
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, most rival executives believe that Collins is not a long-term piece of the Hawks’ plans. However, there’s an obstacle to him being traded, and that’s ownership’s desire to make the playoffs this year. Here’s an excerpt from Amick’s piece:
Despite the fact that he didn’t come to terms on an extension in the brief offseason, and that so many rival executives believe his NBA future will eventually be elsewhere as a result, there’s a complicating element that is coming into play: He’s a pivotal part of their team right now. And considering the widely-known reality that the playoffs are a massive priority for owner Tony Ressler & Co., that makes the prospect of trading Collins quite tricky.
Collins’ offensive stats may have taken a slight dip so far this season, but he remains one of the most efficient scorers in the NBA, averaging 18.5 points per game on 55.9% from the field and 40.7% from behind the arc. He’s also shown improvements defensively, as he and Capela have created quite the tandem protecting the rim.
Teams should be checking in on Collins, and on the flip side, the Hawks would be fools not to listen to all offers. He’s an All-Star caliber player that is an impending free agent. Atlanta may not want to pay him a max-contract, but they also don’t want to see him walk for free. Still, a trade before the March 25th deadline seems highly unlikely unless one of two things happens.
The Hawks obviously plan on making a run at the playoffs, so if there was a way to upgrade their roster by moving Collins, it certainly could be in the cards. A trade with the Wizards for a player like Bradley Beal stands out to me. There’s also the possibility that Atlanta goes on a losing streak before the trade deadline. The further behind they fall in the playoff race, the easier it will be to cope with moving Collins for future assets. However, the ball is in the Hawks’ court. Even if they miss the playoffs and fail to trade Collins, they can still match any offer and retain him in free agency.