The Athletic proposes this 3-team mega trade surrounding John Collins

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The NBA trade deadline is rapidly approaching, and there might not be a team more talked about than the Hawks. Amid franchise turmoil, it is open season for ‘sources’ to report anything and everything they want. John Collins has notoriously been mentioned in trade rumors for years now, and it’s only going to ramp up as February 9 approaches. The Athletic’s latest proposal is a three-team mega-deal between the Rockets, Suns, and Hawks.


“… there’s no denying Collins would make the Rockets a better team, especially on the defensive end. Collins has been a positive defender for the Hawks in every season he’s been with them, with this season’s impact — a plus-5.6 point defensive differential — among the 88th percentile of players, per Cleaning the Glass. Collins would also be a welcome addition to a youthful locker room in need of a veteran voice.

But the issue of a Collins trade, as the Rockets and other teams with interest are currently internally evaluating, is the fit — and all its accompanying factors. For starters, the forward is in the second year of a 5-year, $125 million contract signed in 2021. Bringing Collins on Houston’s books would eat significantly into their future cap space, one of the more positive things the front office is looking forward to this summer. The Rockets would have to juxtapose Collins and his opportunity cost, meaning they would need to determine if they would rather have Collins now or preserve maximum cap space for what figures to be a busy summer in free agency. There is also the question of positional fit.”

If this were on the table, I would sign off on it because I think it makes the Hawks better today and replenishes Atlanta’s depleted draft arsenal. Still, it’s unlikely for several reasons. Why would the Rockets want John Collins? His contract would handicap a young, up-and-coming team.

Moreover, that $5.4 million increase in cap space would put the Hawks over the luxury tax threshold, which we know won’t happen. Despite Tony Ressler stating multiple times the tax doesn’t scare him, the Hawks actions say otherwise. The team was set to pay a minimal penalty this season but decided to get actively worse by trading Kevin Huerter to avoid it, which remains one of the most bone headed decisions in team history.

I see this trade deadline coming and going the same way it has the past few years for the Hawks — John Collins remains in Atlanta. Unless the team can get better in the present and the future, Landry Fields should just hang on to Collins, which they are reportedly comfortable doing. We’ll see what the new-look front office chooses to do.

Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire

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