It’s easy to understand from a financial perspective why trading John Collins to Utah in a salary-dump deal is the right move for the Hawks, who no longer project to be a taxpayer in 2023/24, writes Jeff Schultz of The Athletic. Still, Schultz views the move as an embarrassing culmination of three years of trade rumors, which began even before Collins signed a five-year, $125MM contract with the team in 2021.
Certainly, if the Hawks had moved Collins a year or two earlier, they could’ve brought back more value from an on-court perspective. As Shams Charania of The Athletic writes, Atlanta had an opportunity to acquire Harrison Barnes from the Kings in a Collins deal last June, but decided against it. The Hawks will instead acquire Rudy Gay and a second-round pick from the Jazz.
Collins’ exit will give young players like Jalen Johnson and AJ Griffin the opportunity to play larger roles going forward, according to Schultz, who adds that the Hawks will continue to explore the trade market. Although Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter are viewed as possible candidates to be dealt, don’t expect Dejounte Murray to go anywhere. Schultz says a number of teams have inquired on Murray, but GM Landry Fields and head coach Quin Snyder are both fans of the veteran guard.
Here’s more on the Collins trade:
- Gay is unlikely to actually suit up for the Hawks next season, per Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscription required). People familiar with the situation tell Williams that the team is expected to try to trade Gay. If no favorable deals emerge, he’ll likely be waived.
- There’s no shame in admitting that the Collins trade is a salary dump, says ESPN’s Bobby Marks (YouTube link), pointing out that the move will give the Hawks flexibility for future deals with players like Saddiq Bey and Onyeka Okongwu.
- Tony Jones of The Athletic takes a look at what Collins will bring to the Jazz and how adding him to the mix will affect the rest of the roster. Based on the current make-up of the frontcourt, it appears that Collins, Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler, and Kelly Olynyk will have major roles, with others – including Taylor Hendricks – vying for playing time, says Jones.
- The Jazz‘s acquisition of Collins signals that the front office is willing to accelerate the team’s rebuilding process rather than simply continuing to stockpile draft picks and build through the draft, writes Gordon Monson of The Salt Lake Tribune (subscription required).
- Zach Harper of The Athletic is far more bullish on the Jazz‘s side of the Collins deal, giving Utah a grade of A for the move while assigning the Hawks an “F-plus.”