Following Atlanta’s surprise run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, the Hawks rewarded John Collins with a five-year, $125 million contract extension. Their struggles this season, in addition to conflicting reports of his desire to play with Trae Young, might lead to him finding a new home at the trade deadline.
John Collins Trade Destinations | NBA Trade Deadline
Collins has the unique ability to finish around the rim but also stretch the opposing defense from behind the arc. He is an elite offensive threat that many teams would love to have. His defense still needs some work but he has proven that he can play alongside great defensive big men like Clint Capela and Onyeka Okungwo.
Despite Atlanta’s slide this year, Collins has been having a stellar season. He currently has the highest net rating of any rotational player on the team and is more efficient this season, putting up solid numbers despite getting fewer shot attempts. At just 24 years old, Collins has already established himself as a very talented player that will be highly sought after as the deadline draws near.
John Collins shot chart seems pretty good this season 👀🤷🏻♂️
80% FT pic.twitter.com/LxBOJFnOmB
— Kevin Keneely (@KevinKeneely1) January 28, 2022
Travis Schlenk has already tried to light a fire under this Hawks team. First, he made a public statement that it may have been a mistake to bring everyone back from last season. If that wasn’t enough, he then sent Cam Reddish to New York in a deal with the Knicks. That move was all about acquiring an enticing draft pick that they could use later, as well as clearing up their crowded wing position. The front office is being aggressive, which could be another sign of things to come this week.
With his age and contract status, any team trying to acquire Collins would be doing so with the intent that he would be there for the long haul. That is to say that the teams trying to snatch him up this week are not doing so with the intent that it will be just a win-now move for this season. With that in mind, these are the three best destinations for Collins to land.
San Antonio Spurs
Collins is known to want a larger offensive role that is not possible with his current situation. The engine to Atlanta’s offense is Young, and everyone else plays a role that fits their skill set. With the Spurs not being a contender at the moment, he would have the opportunity to flourish at a position where the team has a great need. Collins would also benefit greatly from the teachings of Gregg Popovich.
San Antonio would have a lethal two-man game with Collins and Dejounte Murray, who has been one of the best individual stories this season. The dynamic point guard is a walking triple-double and has truly evolved into an elite play-maker. Surrounding those two young players with the likes of Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker, Devin Vassell, and rookie Josh Primo would provide the Spurs with an exciting young core that could quickly become a playoff team in the West.
Derrick White might be the piece Atlanta covets, and the Spurs have a logjam at the guard position anyway. Murray, Johnson, and Vassell are all excellent defenders who are locked up for at least the next three years in terms of free agency. Collins will be locked in even longer, giving the franchise stability as they continue to grow. This organization has never been about one superstar player paving the way, but rather a collection of great talent. That would be the case once again with Collins, who would be the ideal fit for this team.
Reports have circulated about the long-term future of Donovan Mitchell in Utah. Some have questioned his desire to stay in a small market, but perhaps the arrival of Collins would persuade him to stay. It would be a reunion for Collins, who was born in Layton, Utah. Per Second Spectrum, a Young-Collins ball screen has generated over 1.05 points per possessions over the last three seasons. Collins could provide the Jazz with similar results, alongside Mitchell.
With the loss of Joe Ingles, the organization needs to make a move before the deadline. The forward position was already one of great need, and there is no doubt that Collins would be a great fit alongside three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. The Jazz has fallen off a cliff without their big man, losing 11 of their last 13 games and riding a five-game losing streak heading into tonight’s matchup with the Nuggets.
The Utah Jazz have lost 10 of 12 games for the first time since the 2017-18 season. That team would respond by winning 21 of 23 games and won a 1st round playoff series. Let’s hope this Jazz team can have a similar turnaround.
— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) January 29, 2022
Utah is one of the top three-point shooting teams in the league, and Collins has shot around 40 percent in each of the last three seasons. The benefit over guys like Ingles and Royce O’Neal would be that he can go inside and give them an inside presence on offense when Gobert is off the floor. Just adding a talent like that would not only make this team a true title contender, it would likely assure it’s future with their All-Star guard.
Minnesota has had quite the turnaround this season, with the continued development of Anthony Edwards and the maturation of D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns. Jarred Vanderbilt and Jaden McDaniels have performed well this season but the addition of Collins would be a tremendous upgrade at the power forward position.
Neither Vanderbilt nor McDaniels are quality three-point shooters, and while the Timberwolves take the most threes in the league, they rank just 21st in terms of percentage. Collins would help in that area and would be a solid fit next to Towns on both ends of the floor. The West is wide open this year, and a deal like this would give Minnesota a great young core going forward.
Collins would give Russell and Edwards another outstanding pick-and-roll partner, while also opening things up for guys on the perimeter. The defense would still need to improve, but with the Timberwolves fighting for a top-six seed in the Western Conference, Collins just might be the one missing piece they need. It has been quite a while since anyone could say that about this franchise, with just one playoff appearance since the 2003-04 season.