NBA Rumor: John Collins Trade?

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Hawks engaging Sixers on Ben Simmons trade in exchange for John Collins, more

Across the league, the Simmons market has become more focused as the deadline nears. The Atlanta Hawks have been most engaged with the 76ers in recent weeks, according to sources. The sides have discussed a framework around John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic and draft compensation, those sources have said. The Sacramento Kings, meanwhile, have made clear that they have moved on from the Simmons sweepstakes after being one of the top suitors in the past few months.

Hawks, Sixers discussed Ben Simmons trade

Last week, the Atlanta Hawks considered sending John Collins, Cam Reddish, and a first-round pick to the Sixers in exchange for Simmons, according to sources. However, the talks stopped after Harris’ name was brought into the deal. “There’s no way that kind of deal is going to happen,” a source said. “There’s maybe one [team] on a stretch that can take back Tobias. But I just think it’s a long shot.”

John Collins: Atlanta is where I want to be

Last year before the trade deadline, you made it very clear how you wanted to remain with Atlanta for the rest of your career. Has that changed for you? John Collins: No. That’s why it’s frustrating when I’m mentioned in those kinds of reports. It always makes my fans, teammates and the organization not know where I might stand. I can’t be responsible for how someone feels when they’re processing what they’re reading. What I’m upset about is, sometimes, I can’t control my own narrative. I do my best to do so, but it’s part of the job. In terms of the Hawks and Atlanta, I don’t need to talk about it because I’ve talked about it enough. This is where I want to be.

John Collins frustrated with role in Atlanta

Collins, however, has grown increasingly frustrated over his role in Atlanta, multiple sources have told The Athletic. His shot attempts per game and usage rate have decreased in each of the past three seasons — even as the athletic, energetic Collins has improved his offensive repertoire. The 6-foot-9 big man has challenged the Hawks locker room on multiple occasions to play team basketball and commit to one another this season. Oftentimes, Collins has felt his voice go unheard.

Collins, 24, is eligible to be traded on Jan. 15. 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has set a high price threshold on Simmons, and has stated repeatedly that he wants Simmons to return to the team. Rival executives do believe Morey will stick to his approach of desiring a star in any Simmons trade, but what if that offer fails to arrive this season? Would the 76ers hold onto Simmons until the summer? There is also belief that teams are awaiting Morey to lower his asking price before a deal comes to fruition. Teams across the league continue to monitor the situation as it evolves.

John Collins felt relief over not being traded

When John Collins woke up from his nap, he rolled over and tapped his phone. It was past noon, meaning the trade deadline had already passed. There were no missed calls or text messages on the screen. “I took a big, deep breath, got up and played some Xbox,” he said. “There were no hard feelings. No anything, honestly. I was just ready for whatever was happening or was going to happen. And thankfully, nothing did.”

Collins understands how fluid the NBA can be. He knows business rules the day and that Hawks management has a job to do. That even as partners with similar goals, there’s inherent self-interest that drives every big decision a player and his organization tends to make. It’s why Collins turned down a $90 million extension before the season began, and why the Hawks did not offer him the max contract he believes he deserves. None of this overwhelmed Collins, but the deadline did aggravate natural strains felt before the season even began.

“I feel like once the trade deadline was over, I definitely felt relief. But before I was sort of stressing, like at the beginning stages of the season, because I was just thinking so much. How am I going to do this? How am I going to do that?” he said. “Once it was over, then I was like, O.K., now I can really take it out of my brain and throw it away. It definitely relieved me. But I went through that process earlier of, Man, what if this happens? or, What about this? Do I want to stay?”

The Athletic refutes Hawks GM Travis Schlenk, reports John Collins was available in trade talks

John Collins was a big reason why the Hawks went on their eight-game winning streak, and he’s been consistent all season long. Interestingly, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said trade discussions surrounding Collins never intensified. League sources told The Athletic that Collins was made available in trade talks, but there were not any enticing offers on the table.

Though the Hawks’ demands for Collins have been similar to Orlando’s Gordon price tag, Atlanta’s initial response to Boston’s pursuit of the 23-year-old forward was to build a larger deal around Jaylen Brown, league sources tell The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner. Since the 24-year-old All-Star plays the most valuable position in the game and just started a below market four-year deal, that was not going anywhere unless Atlanta was looking to include Trae Young and DeAndre Hunter, their two main building blocks. Trades for young top picks with long-term control like this are exceedingly rare, especially once they have hit the All-Star threshold.

Celtics pursuing Bogdan Bogdanovic and John Collins?

Boston’s pursuit of Collins also involves another key Hawks rotation player, according to league sources: Bogdan Bogdanovic, whom the Celtics had some trade discussions about while he was in Sacramento. If the Hawks were to acquire Ball, maybe moving Bogdanovic would make some sense. Both Collins, 23, and Bogdanovic, 28, fit the timeline of All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who are 23 and 24, yet are good enough to compete now.

John Collins unlikely to leave Atlanta?

“John Collins, I think, is unlikely to leave Atlanta,” said Adrian Wojnarowski. “I don’t think they can find value on a rookie contract for him. They’re 6-0 since Nate McMillan took over as head coach. I think they can figure out John Collins’ future… There was a limit they were willing to go in negations, around $90 million on an extension. He’ll be a restricted free agent. They can figure that out after the season.”

Whomever the Hawks decide to target, the name floating around from Atlanta’s end is John Collins. The fourth-year forward is set to be a restricted free agent this summer and could be in line for a nine-figure deal after he and the Hawks failed to come to an agreement on an extension before the season. “They’re worried he’s getting maxed, and they’re putting it out there they are willing to pay him if he gets a max but won’t be thrilled about it,” said an East executive. However, Collins’ $4.1 million salary makes it difficult to trade him for an established player, and a deal for the future — be it young players or draft picks — doesn’t help the Hawks make a playoff push this season.

The Hawks also widely signaled that 2018 first-round pick Kevin Huerter was available via trade prior to draft night. Atlanta would need to include Tony Snell and one other smaller contract to match Beal’s salary. Adding John Collins would make the money work, and if the Wizards are willing to sign him to the max-level contract sources say he desires in his upcoming restricted free agency, Atlanta holds all of its first-rounders plus the Oklahoma City Thunder’s lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick.

John Collins is another player opposing teams will monitor closely. After averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds in consecutive seasons, Collins is eligible for an extension this offseason. Collins and his agents, Jeff Schwartz and Sean Kennedy of Excel Sports Management, will seek a maximum contract extension ideally. “I’m all in,” Collins said regarding a potential extension on the HoopsHype podcast. “I’m true to Atlanta. There’s nothing else I’ve got to say. I’m ready to extend.” If the Hawks and Collins’ camp are far apart on an extension, it could open the door for Atlanta to gauge his value on the trade market.

John Collins: The trade talks I’m always aware that could be an option just because of me being an NBA player. I get it. I wasn’t too hung up over that. Whenever I’m in trade talks, that’s a good thing. That means other teams are seeing my value, want me, and so I try to take it as a good thing. Now, in terms of the suspension and stuff, obviously, no one likes to see that, but I felt like I used that entire time to just motivate myself. I didn’t miss a Hawks game. I watched all the guys every time they played.

John Collins: It just really just gave me some time to think about my career, think about the mistakes I’ve made, think about the positive things I’m doing. It just gave me a little bit of a perspective shift and kind of just narrowed in on my goals a little bit more because coming into the league, you’re always wide-eyed, and you don’t really always understand what’s best for you and what’s necessary for you to be great. I definitely felt like, not saying that I wanted to go through that obviously, I feel like everybody doesn’t feel like that, but having to go through it and trying to bring some positive out of it. My body’s the most important thing that I have. I must value it with my life, so I do, and I will continue to do so.

Hawks eyeing Clint Capela

The Hawks are among several teams expressing interest in Rockets center Clint Capela, according to sources. Houston has received several calls on Capela, but is said to be unlikely to move him barring an overwhelming offer. Conversely, several teams are monitoring Hawks big man John Collins and feeling out Atlanta’s asking price, sources said. Collins has so far been part of the Hawks’ young core along with All-Star guard Trae Young. But the Hawks’ need for a more natural center is known, and they have expressed interest in Capela, Sacramento’s Dewayne Dedmon and Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams, too.
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