It will be worth keeping an eye on John Collins‘ situation with the Hawks as next month’s trade deadline approaches, says Sam Amick of The Athletic. The two sides were unable to reach a contract extension agreement prior to the season, with Atlanta reportedly offering $90MM+ while Collins viewed himself as a max player.
Given the gap in negotiations and Collins’ upcoming restricted free agency, a deal could make sense — sources tell Amick that the Hawks have shown a willingness to listen to offers for the big man. However, the 23-year-old, who is averaging 18.5 PPG and 7.8 RPG on .559/.407/.841 shooting in 24 games (31.9 MPG), has been a major part of Atlanta’s success so far this season. The club has a +6.0 net rating when he’s on the court, compared to -11.0 when he’s not, per NBA.com.
Since the Hawks badly want to make the playoffs this season and Collins has been so crucial to keeping them in the hunt, an in-season trade may be unlikely, according to Amick, who notes that Atlanta may end up having to decide what to do with the young power forward in the offseason, when his contract expires.
Here’s more from Amick:
- The Thunder, Pistons, and Cavaliers are among the teams expected to be “open for business” as potential trade deadline sellers, though their most promising young players will be off limits, sources tell Amick. A 5-10 start to the season had the Kings looking like probable sellers too, but they’ve bounced back and are very much in the playoff hunt. A source with knowledge of the team’s thinking tells The Athletic that Sacramento hasn’t ruled out being a deadline buyer.
- If the Kings do sell, Harrison Barnes, Buddy Hield, and Nemanja Bjelica will be among the players to monitor. Barnes is known to be on the Celtics‘ radar, while the Sixers – who have long been tied to Hield – are also considering Bjelica, says Amick.
- After bowing out of the James Harden sweepstakes last month, the Nuggets are focused on in-house improvements. Michael Porter Jr.‘s development will be crucial to that process, per Amick, who notes that the temptation to move Porter for a more proven veteran will always be there until he takes another leap. Amick identifies Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine, and Aaron Gordon as some impact players who could pique Denver’s interest, though he cautions that rival executives don’t expect them to be available at this season’s deadline.