It’s obvious why there would teams interested in a trade for John Collins: He’s averaging 18 points and 7.6 rebounds a game, is incredibly athletic, and is just 23. Assuming Kyle Lowry is not being traded out of Toronto, Collins is the biggest name — and would bring the biggest haul — of any player in serious discussions to be moved before the deadline.
But a deal appears unlikely, according to multiple reports.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe notes there is “heavy interest” in Collins but points to the Hawks’ challenges putting together a trade.
Collins is drawing heavy interest ahead of the deadline, league sources said. Trading Collins is complicated for Atlanta, even as he heads toward restricted free agency. They are under pressure to make the playoffs. Collins is one of their best players — insurance for any Capela injury. He’s earning “only” $4.1 million, so trading him for an impact player would require adding other Hawks to the deal.
Adrian Wojnarowski, also of ESPN, took it a step further on The Woj Pod, calling a Collins trade unlikely.
“John Collins, I think, is unlikely to leave Atlanta. I don’t think they can find value on a rookie contract for him.”
Atlanta wants a quality young player and a first-round pick, at a minimum, for Collins. As noted by Lowe, with Collins still on his rookie contract it becomes difficult to do that without adding other players and making this a much bigger trade.
Hanging over all of this is a mandate from Atlanta ownership to make the playoffs, and the fact Collins is their second-best player (even if his skill set largely overlaps with Clint Capela). Atlanta has won seven games in a row — against a soft part of their schedule, something that changes starting Saturday — and has moved up to fifth in the East, Hawks management may not want to mess with that momentum.
What seems more likely is a Collins sign-and-trade this offseason when he is a restricted free agent.
Or, the Hawks just re-sign Collins and see how far they can go with him and Trae Young as their cornerstones.