John Collins, a free agent after the 2020-21 NBA season, and the Atlanta Hawks couldn't agree to a contract extension during the offseason. A recent report stated that the Hawks offered Collins a near-$90 million pact.
A report surfaced on Friday that Collins is unhappy with the Hawks offense as he feels it's too centered around point guard Trae Young. Let's connect the dots: A Collins trade is feasible. Furthermore, the Hawks have an array of wings and forwards including new additions Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic, second year players De'Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, and the much-improved Kevin Huerter.
The Hawks put themselves in a precarious financial situation by signing Gallinari (three years, $61 million) and Bogdanovic (four years, $72 million) to an already deep team with high-minute players looking for extensions in the near future. They're not exactly dealing from strength. So shipping Collins could give them more breathing room.
If and when the two parties look to go their separate ways, which teams could make a play via trade for John Collins?
Hawks acquire: Justin Jackson, Ty Jerome, and 2021 first round draft pick via Golden State Warriors
The Thunder have the draft capital to trade for whoever they want. They won't be making all of those picks and making the above trade likely doesn't send them to the postseason anyway, so why not see how Collins would fare in their rotation?
Collins has averaged 20.1 points and 9.7 rebounds over the last three seasons. He is adept at getting to the rim and finishing through contact. He's a player who would be an integral part of any NBA offense.
The Thunder are looking for an identity with a young core headlined by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with the likes of Luguentz Dort, Darius Bazley, and Hamidou Diallo providing support. Collins would give the team another prominent source of offense and a player to build through. The Thunder keep Gilgeous-Alexander and retain their own first round pick in the next NBA Draft in this trade.
From the Hawks' perspective, they get a pair of former first round selections in Jackson, a respectable defender, and Jerome, a big and capable point guard. But arguably the biggest catch for them would be the 2021 first round draft pick as the upcoming rookie class is projected to be way better than last year.
Hawks acquire: JaVale McGee, Kevin Porter Jr., 2022 first round draft pick, and 2023 second round draft pick
The Cavaliers have a lot of productive veterans and compelling youngsters, but they've yet to turn a collective corner. With Kevin Love's continued injury woes and Andre Drummond's upcoming free agency, the team could look for a frontcourt enhancer.
John Collins is another proven scorer who could add credence to a Cavaliers offense in need of a spark. They went into Friday second to the last in the NBA in points per game (102.1). He can operate off the dribble and is a decent 36.6 percent shooter from beyond the arc.
At some point, the Wine and Gold have to get the train moving on their rebuild and Collins would be a very significant piece in that direction, even if that means giving up a few draft picks. After all, Collins is still just 23 years old and is nowhere near his physical prime yet.
Meanwhile, the Hawks get a three-time champion in McGee, who's always a positive locker room presence and an able backup for Clint Capela, and a talented yet enigmatic wingman in Porter, who has yet to play this season because of personal issues. If he gets a fresh start with the Hawks, maybe he can finally play to his potential.
Hawks acquire: Marvin Bagley III, 2021 second round draft pick via Memphis Grizzlies, and 2021 second round draft pick via Los Angeles Lakers
Bagley and the Kings are best off going their separate ways. The Duke product simply hasn't been the key player they envisioned him to be when they drafted him ahead of Luka Doncic and Trae Young. The Kings trading their personnel dilemma for the Hawks' financial dilemma would be a worthwhile gamble.
Collins would be an instant building block for the Kings as they continue their efforts in climbing up the West. His high-bounce play off the dribble and overall offensive arsenal would be an upgrade from Bagley, who's less agile and quick. Collins could also be an ideal pairing with De'Aaron Fox, whether it be in pick-and-roll situations or in the open court.
Regardless of the future of those around him, John Collins would be a long-term piece to the puzzle for the Kings and a more steady commodity than Bagley.
While the haul isn't making the Hawks jump out of their seat, Bagley is still untapped potential. Perhaps what he needs is a change of scenery so he can unleash his true talent. Remember, he averaged 14.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in his rookie year before being hobbled by injuries, so he sure can hoop in the NBA.