It’s become a bit of a yearly NBA tradition for John Collins to see his name pop up in trade rumors, and those rumors came to fruition on Friday morning. The Atlanta Hawks are reportedly fielding calls on Collins yet again, with the Phoenix Suns emerging as a potential suitor for Collins’ services.
Despite signing him to a five-year, $125 million deal during the 2021 offseason, the Hawks have never been fully committed to keeping Collins around for the long-term. Collins always seems to see his name pop up in trade talks, and that has happened once again, with Collins now taking on a smaller role on offense for Atlanta with Dejounte Murray running things with Trae Young in the backcourt now.
The Suns would love to receive a nice scoring boost from Collins, who has made a name for himself as a fantastic finisher at the rim, while also turning himself into a strong shooter as well. With both teams appearing to have some interest in a deal here, let’s take a look at the trade package the Suns should send to the Hawks if they want to land Collins.
Suns receive: John Collins, Hawks 2023-second round pick (from Nets or Hornets)
Hawks receive: Jae Crowder, Suns 2023 first-round pick, Suns 2024 second-round pick
The negotiations for a deal between the Suns and Hawks for Collins should be much more straightforward than they actually are. The Suns have interest in Collins, and the Hawks have interest in Jae Crowder, who has refused to play for Phoenix this season and is looking to find a way off the team. That should make things simple, right?
The problem is that the Hawks likely aren’t going to be in any rush to move Collins considering the 2022-23 season is still young, and the Suns aren’t in love with the idea of taking on the entirety of Collins’ contract, which becomes more expensive as it goes on. That has presented a few roadblocks to a deal, making it likely it will be awhile before Collins is moved.
This trade package should help incentivize each side to make this deal. For the Hawks, it’s clear a Collins-for-Crowder swap is not equal, but considering their desire to move Collins, they likely won’t be able to get a ton in return for him. The Suns 2023 first-round pick, which will likely come in towards the back end of the first round, seems like a fair addition to the trade package.
The problem is that the Suns likely don’t have the desire to add that pick into a package for Collins with their concerns over his contract. Technically, the Hawks could eat some of the money on his deal and that trade could go through as is, but for the sake of this article, we will beef up the trade package for both sides in an effort to avoid the money problem.
Swapping second-round picks may not seem like much, but this could be a pretty beneficial move for both sides. The Hawks have three second-round picks in the 2023 NBA Draft, and they likely don’t want to use all three of them. Atlanta has their own, as well as one from the New Orleans Pelicans and one that will be the most favorable pick out of the Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, or Charlotte Hornets.
The latter is the pick that the Hawks would send over, as the Hawks original second-round pick and the Pelicans will likely come in towards the end of the second round. Neither the Nets nor Hornets have had hot starts to the season, and while they could realistically turn things around very quickly, this is a bit of a lottery ticket for the Suns that could turn into a high second-round pick.
In return, the Suns would send their own second-round pick in 2024 to give the Hawks some more flexibility in the future. In all likelihood, the pick won’t be overly valuable considering Phoenix’s talent, but there has been a ton of internal conflict in the organization lately, so if things fall apart for them over the next two seasons, that could end up becoming a much more valuable pick.
This package may change depending on whether Collins can improve his play as the season progresses, or if Crowder gets dealt somewhere else first, but as of right now, this seems like a pretty beneficial deal for both sides. The Suns unload an unhappy player for a potential big impact player in Collins, and the Hawks get rid of an expensive player while getting a player who fits their rotation perfectly. Seems like a win-win deal for both sides of you ask me.