The Phoenix Suns know that the NBA is an arms race, and, in their continued quest to avenge their 2021 NBA Finals loss at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks, they must always continue to look for improvements around Devin Booker and Chris Paul that could, perhaps, take them over the hump. But could the Suns pull off the unthinkable and swing a trade for Atlanta Hawks big man John Collins?
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, league sources said that the Suns are interested in Collins as the Hawks field calls on the 6’9 power forward’s availability. Previous reports have stated that the Hawks are extremely interested in Suns outcast Jae Crowder, making a potential trade between the two parties a feasible one.
However, the Suns are reportedly unwilling to take on a huge long-term monetary commitment, what with John Collins just in the second year of the five-year, $125 million deal he signed with the Hawks during the 2021 offseason.
This is not Collins’ first rodeo with trade rumors. Over the past few years, there were reports that surfaced about the 25-year old’s growing discontent with his role in Atlanta, which was then compounded by a purported rift between him and Trae Young (which both have denied) and the Hawks’ acquisition of Clint Capela, who has relegated Collins to more of a shooting role.
The arrival of Dejounte Murray over the offseason only served to marginalize John Collins in the Hawks offense even further, with Collins currently putting up a career-low usage rate en route to his lowest scoring output per night since his rookie year.
Nevertheless, Collins is still one of the best athletes in the entire league, and it’s frightening to think about how much better he could play with Chris Paul and Devin Booker feeding him touches.
The Suns also have a Deandre Ayton conundrum to resolve, especially after an offseason where it appeared as if the rift between the Bahamian center and the coaching staff was too big to reconcile. Should the Suns decide to pursue John Collins, it appears likely that Ayton could be involved in such a deal given their comparable salaries.
Alas, no trade seems to be imminent, and as Charania noted, a potential deal involving Collins could take weeks or even months to materialize.