Breaking news: The Atlanta Hawks are open to trading John Collins.

Anyone following the NBA surely isn’t surprised by Collins’ name resurfacing in trade rumors. He’s been among the marquee players most likely to be dealt league-wide ever since contentious contract extension negotiations between he and the Hawks in summer 2020.

Recent reporting on Collins’ next destination—if Atlanta finally pulls the trigger on a deal, that is—indicated the Phoenix Suns were his most serious suitor on the trade market.

As noted by league insider Marc Stein, however, local scuttle in the desert is the Suns don’t have any interest in trading for the high-flying 25-year-old. The Utah Jazz, though, are reportedly eyeing him before the February trade deadline.

One thing’s for sure: Collins has never been more likely to be dealt, according to Stein.

Any mention of the Hawks and trades, of course, is prone to thrust Collins’ name into the conversation. A report that the Suns have interest in Collins was forcefully shot down by Phoenix-based radio host and insider John Gambadoro, but league sources confirmed Utah is among the teams to express interest in the Atlanta forward.

No clear-cut destination for Collins has emerged, but his exit from the Hawks — after being mentioned in countless trade scenarios for the past few seasons — has never seemed more inevitable.

Collins is playing perhaps the smallest role of his five-year career this season as the rebuilt Hawks acclimate to the addition of All-Star guard Dejounte Murray.

He’s averaging 12.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, with the lowest usage of his of NBA tenure. Collins has struggled shooting the ball, too, down to a career-worst 23.4% from deep on lower volume than a year ago.

Utah’s reported interest in Collins makes sense regardless. He’d give the Jazz another dynamic big to pair with breakout star Lauri Markkanen, undoubtedly drawing more touches and scoring opportunities in the team’s wide open, egalitarian offensive attack.

Utah is the biggest surprise of 2022-23, at 12-6 in the season’s early going despite trading Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell over the summer. The Jazz just might be too good to tank under rookie coach Will Hardy despite the best efforts of Danny Ainge and the front office. Why not buy low on a quality player like Collins who fits Utah’s updated timeline?

Either way, expect to hear Collins’ name floated in trade rumors from now until he’s finally moved before February 9th.

[Marc Stein]