Hawks big man John Collins is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is on track to become a restricted free agent in 2021 if he and the team don’t work out an extension by Monday’s deadline. While it remains to be seen whether the two sides will finalize a new deal in the coming days, team owner Tony Ressler is among those hoping that Collins remains in Atlanta for years to come, writes Chris Kirschner of The Athletic.
“I would love to see John with the Atlanta Hawks for an extended period of time,” Ressler said. “John’s a really good young player and a really good kid. I hope we can figure out a very fair and reasonable contract for him. I know (general manager) Travis (Schlenk) is very focused on keeping John Collins with the Atlanta Hawks.”
Schlenk and the Hawks are known to have talked to Collins’ camp about a potential extension, and I’d imagine those discussions will continue either until an agreement is reached or until Monday’s deadline passes. Both the Hawks and Collins have said they’d like to reach an agreement, and the club isn’t preserving cap space for 2021, so it will be interesting to see if the two sides can find common ground.
Collins stated back in the spring that he believes he’s a candidate for a maximum-salary contract, but there’s “zero indication” that the Hawks are willing to go that high at this point, as Kirschner writes. Although Collins put up big numbers (21.6 PPG, 10.1 RPG) in 41 games last season, he has to establish himself as a franchise cornerstone on the level of Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, or Donovan Mitchell, who each signed max rookie extensions earlier in the offseason.
[RELATED: 2020/21 NBA Contract Extension Tracker]
If Atlanta is going to lock up Collins in the coming days, it will have to be at a somewhat discounted price, according to Kirschner — Ressler’s comment about negotiating a “fair and reasonable” deal reflects that stance. If they feel as if Collins’ asking price is too high, the Hawks can simply evaluate the 23-year-old’s performance over the course of the 2020/21 season and make a decision when he reaches restricted free agency.
Collins is one of 20 players still eligible to sign a rookie scale extension by Monday. Here’s the full list.