The Hawks dominated headlines at the beginning of the NBA offseason when they acquired Dejounte Murray before free agency even began. Since then, the club has been relatively quiet outside of signing Aaron Holiday and trading Kevin Huerter, but that hasn’t stopped numerous rumors from swirling around John Collins.
For the better part of the past two years, JC has been the subject of more trade rumors than I could even count. Reports even indicated that the versatile big man wanted out, but it seems those were inaccurate. New general manager Landry Fields swiftly put those murmurs to bed recently.
How do you look at John Collins philosophically while weighing his long-term fit and value versus what that can bring in a trade?
I always get asked that question one way or the other. John is a valuable player. If you’re building a roster with any team and you’re looking at how you can get better, teams often think this way: ‘Well, the Hawks have a really good player that makes a certain amount of dollars that works for what we’re trying to do.’ So, there are a bunch of concepts they’re going to throw our way and say, ‘What do you think of John?’ The truth of the matter is that John Collins is still on the Hawks. We still have value in him, too. This isn’t one of those, ‘We have to get off of John.’ That’s absurd. There’s a misinterpretation of that. You always think of the player from that standpoint because he is constantly in talks. You try to make sure with him that we check in and make sure he’s doing all right. It’s something where it’s less about wondering if he’s the long-term fit and it’s more about the fact that he gets called on a lot. The moment those calls come up, people talk. Then all of a sudden, here we are in the media with this thought that John Collins is not wanted by the Hawks.
How has Collins reacted to this?
He’s the ultimate professional. He always has been. That’s one of his great values. For a guy to hear his name constantly in this, he’s able to maintain a level of professionalism and focus and will to work. You have to give the guy credit for that. A lot of players in this league don’t get enough credit for tha
Despite these comments, the media still tries to pour gas on the fire. Brian Geltzeiler is a host on Sirius XM NBA Radio and did an interview on 92.9 The Game where he basically suggested the relationship between Trae Young and John Collins was the reason for the Hawks ‘shopping Collins hard.’
“It’s widely known around the league that Trae Young & John Collins aren’t peas & carrots that are cooking in the same pot. They’ve been shopping Collins hard but it hasn’t worked out.” @BGeltzNBA to @putemupcdukes @MarkZinno
— DukesandBell929 (@DukesandBell929) July 14, 2022
First and foremost, the notion that teammates have to be best friends off the court is entirely overblown. Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman couldn’t have been more polar opposites outside of basketball, and they won three titles together. Obviously, I’m not comparing the pair’s accomplishments or talent level to JC and Trae, but the point stands that teammates can be successful without being buddy, buddy outside of basketball.
Secondly, the two might not love playing with each other, but the numbers suggest they’re doing just fine production-wise. The pair rank among the Association’s best duos in pick-and-roll efficiency.
I just don’t quite understand why reporters are trying to pedal this kind of stuff still. The Hawks could be shopping Collins, and they might not get along that much, but the two situations aren’t mutually exclusive.
Photographer: Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire
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