John Collins

Eastern Notes: Collins, Thompson, Antetokounmpo, Love

John Collins, who was dealt to the Jazz this summer, posted a farewell message on Instagram to the city of Atlanta, Hawks fans, teammates, and the organization. His message to the franchise included mixed feelings, thanking it on one hand while also saying his growth was being “stunted.”

“Thank you for sticking with me, even at my lowest,” Collins wrote. “Thank you for allowing me a place to grow. But as I see, it is this hawk’s time to fly away from the nest. As my growth here is being stunted.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Ausar Thompson, the Pistons’ lottery pick, could be anything from a starter to out of the rotation in his rookie campaign, Keith Langlois of writes. His 3-point shot is the main concern but he has enough attributes to complement the starting backcourt of Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey by employing his defense on the opposition’s top perimeter play-maker. Thompson could also be a force on the second unit with a number of proven perimeter shooters around him, Langlois notes.
  • Bucks fans don’t want to think about it, but what if Giannis Antetokounmpo eventually demands a trade? HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan looks at potential landing spots for the two-time MVP, with the Knicks, Thunder and Pelicans topping his list due to their surplus of assets.
  • Kevin Love could take over the role of sage veteran on the Heat‘s bench, which Udonis Haslem filled in recent seasons, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel opines. Like Haslem, Love is a player with championship pedigree and he’s already served as a mentor inside the Heat locker room. Love could especially be helpful in the development of young forward Nikola Jovic, Winderman adds.

Northwest Notes: Lillard, T. Brown, Milton, J. Collins, OKC

Appearing on ESPN’s SportsCenter (YouTube link) on Monday night to provide an update on the Damian Lillard trade talks, Adrian Wojnarowski said it’s still “very early” in the process, pointing out that there’s no deadline looming to force the Trail Blazers into action — or to push potential Lillard suitors to submit their best offers.

While the Clippers would “love to be part of this process,” they don’t necessarily have the sort of assets the Blazers are seeking for Lillard, according to Wojnarowski. Portland also isn’t particularly moved by what what the Heat has to offer, but that Miami package may be the best the Blazers can get, Woj suggests.

“Now it’s going to be a process over perhaps this month, August, maybe into September, for Portland to try to extract as much as they can from Miami,” Wojnarowski said. “It isn’t like Miami comes to the table and says, ‘Here’s everything we have for Damian Lillard. Here you go.’ It doesn’t start that way. They’re gauging what Portland has (had) offered to them elsewhere.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Troy Brown‘s two-year, $8MM deal with the Timberwolves is only guaranteed for one year, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Brown’s $4MM salary for 2024/25 is non-guaranteed. The Wolves used the same structure when they signed Shake Milton, whose $5MM salary for ’23/24 is guaranteed while his $5MM salary for ’24/25 isn’t, Hoops Rumors has learned. Nickeil Alexander-Walker‘s two-year, $9MM contract, on the other hand, is fully guaranteed.
  • After being the subject of trade speculation for years in Atlanta, John Collins is looking forward to getting a fresh start with the Jazz, he said during an interview on the team’s official website. “I was excited going to a place that I knew really wanted me and was trying to have me in the organization,” Collins said. “It’s always very nice to hear and know coming to a place that really wants you and really wants you to excel here. It’s a big sigh of relief knowing that all the trade talks are over and I can go to my new home and start anew.”
  • The Thunder‘s decision to use their cap room to accommodate salary dumps like Davis Bertans, Victor Oladipo, and Patty Mills this offseason reflected the team’s focus on its young core, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes. As Mussatto explains, with potentially pricey extensions coming down the road for players like Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams, and Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City didn’t want to compromise future cap flexibility by signing a free agent to a long-term deal.

Hawks Trade John Collins To Jazz For Rudy Gay, Second-Rounder

July 7: The trade is official, both teams announced. The second-rounder heading to Atlanta is conditional. It will be Memphis’ 2026 pick and will only convey if it lands between 31 and 42.

June 26: The Hawks are trading forward John Collins to the Jazz in exchange for forward Rudy Gay and a second-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gay had a $6.48MM player option for 2023/24 that he exercised as part of the deal, his agent Sam Permut of Roc Nation Sports tells Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Collins had been in trade rumors for multiple seasons, and now he’s finally on the move. Utah will be acquiring Collins using cap room, so the deal can’t be officially completed until July 6.

It’s essentially a salary-dump move to dip under the luxury tax line for Atlanta, much like the Kevin Huerter trade last offseason (the Hawks did get a protected first-rounder for Huerter, but it was mostly to avoid the luxury tax). Collins is owed $78MM over the next three seasons, including a $26.58MM player option in ’25/26.

In addition to significant financial flexibility, the Hawks will also generate a $25.34MM trade exception — equivalent to Collins’ salary for ’23/24 — as part of the deal, Wojnarowski reports. That will be the league’s new largest trade exception, surpassing the $18.1MM TPE the Nets created as part of the Kevin Durant deal in February.

Bobby Marks of ESPN clarifies (via Twitter) that the Collins TPE will be created by Atlanta absorbing Gay’s salary into an existing trade exception, worth $6.29MM. As Anil Gogna of Thread Sports Management tweets, the new CBA has a $250K allowance for TPEs (as opposed to $100K in the old CBA), which is enough to accommodate Gay’s deal.

It’s an interesting buy-low acquisition for the Jazz, who already have Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler, Kelly Olynyk and first-round pick Taylor Hendricks in their frontcourt.

Collins had a down season in ’22/23, averaging 13.1 PPG and 6.5 RPG on .508/.292/.803 shooting in 71 games (30.0 MPG). Still, he’s only 25 years old and holds career averages of 15.8 PPG and 8.0 RPG on .551/.356/.783 shooting across 364 games (29.2 MPG). The Jazz will be hoping he can rebuild his value under head coach Will Hardy.

According to Wojnarowski, the two teams have discussed “numerous iterations” of a Collins trade for “over a year,” but Atlanta finally decided to move on due to a salary-cap crunch. The Hawks are expected to remain active in trade conversations and GM Landry Fields has ownership’s permission to go above the tax threshold if it improves the roster, says Woj.

Atlanta’s newfound financial flexibility could be used to negotiate long-term extensions for Dejounte Murray, Onyeka Okongwu and Saddiq Bey, whom Wojnarowski refers to as “core players.”

Gay was a very good player for a long time, but age and injuries seemed to catch up with him last season. He posted career lows in points (5.2), rebounds (2.9) and minutes (14.6) per game in 56 appearances. He’s about to enter his 18th season and will turn 37 in August.

Trade Rumors: LaVine, Garland, Rockets, Clippers, Blazers, Bucks

The Bulls have engaged with “several” teams about the possibility of a Zach LaVine trade this offseason, but haven’t gotten serious about moving the high-scoring guard, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

As Fischer explains, LaVine’s pricey long-term contract will make potential trade partners wary about giving up a substantial package of players and draft picks, but the Bulls would be seeking a return that far outweighs what Washington got for Bradley Beal last week.

Fischer names the Knicks and Mavericks as possible teams to watch for LaVine, but immediately throws cold water on the likelihood of either club emerging as a legitimate suitor in the near future. New York seems to be taking a more patient approach to building its roster, according to Fischer, who adds that Dallas was viewed as a more serious threat for LaVine before acquiring Kyrie Irving as a co-star for Luka Doncic.

Here are a few more trade-related notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • Despite some speculation to the contrary, the Cavaliers haven’t had any discussions about trading Darius Garland and have no intention to move the All-Star point guard, sources tell Chris Fedor of (Twitter link). The Cavs appear focused on pursuing roster moves that don’t involve trading any of their four cornerstone players (Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen).
  • In addition to Kenyon Martin Jr., the Rockets have gauged potential trade interest in young players like Usman Garuba and Josh Christopher, sources tell Fischer.
  • Norman Powell and Marcus Morris have both been mentioned in recent days as trade candidates. According to Fischer, the Clippers have been canvassing the league to see what a package of both players might return.
  • No clear suitors have emerged for guard Anfernee Simons, who looks like the Trail Blazers‘ most obvious trade chip, says Fischer. According to Fischer, the Blazers and Cavaliers had some brief talks about Nassir Little prior to the draft, but didn’t gain any real traction toward a deal.
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on the latest episode of his Lowe Post podcast that the Bucks had some “relatively serious” internal conversations about John Collins before he was dealt to Utah. “I do think Milwaukee is looking around for, like, ‘Can we get a little injection of randomness? (An) injection of, like, bounce and athleticism, and just change?'” Lowe said. “Maybe just change more than anything else. But I don’t think (the Collins interest) went anywhere serious.”

John Collins Trade Notes, Reactions

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.”

Stein’s Latest: Porzingis, Jazz, Hawks, Mavs, Pistons, Johnson

Rival teams were “convinced” the Jazz were going to make a run at Kristaps Porzingis in free agency if he had declined his $36MM player option, Marc Stein writes at Substack. As Stein details, the threat of losing Porzingis for nothing may have motivated the Wizards to find compensation for him before his opt-out deadline. They found a way to send him to his preferred destination — the Celtics — despite an initial roadblock after the Clippers had concerns over Malcolm Brogdon‘s health.

The Celtics are “strongly expected” to sign Porzingis to a contract extension this offseason, Stein adds.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • The Hawks and Mavericks, who held frequent talks about deals involving the 10th and 15th overall picks leading up to the draft, couldn’t find common ground because Atlanta wanted to include John Collins in a proposed deal, while Dallas preferred Clint Capela. According to Stein, the Hawks told the Mavs they’d move No. 15 and Capela for No. 10 and Davis Bertans if Josh Green was also included in the package, but Dallas didn’t go for it.
  • The Hawks remain active in trade talks and appear most motivated to move Collins, but Capela and De’Andre Hunter are drawing more interest, per Stein. The Hawks, who have been trying and failing – so far – to convince the Raptors to part with Pascal Siakam, had talks with the Pistons and Pacers prior to the draft about deals involving Hunter and the Nos. 5 and 7 picks.
  • With the additional flexibility they created by dumping Bertans’ salary, the Mavericks are in a better position to use their mid-level exception to pursue a wing, according to Stein, who names Bruce Brown as a possible Dallas free agent target.
  • Having previously reported that the Pistons are expected to be as suitor for Cameron Johnson in free agency, Stein says the Nets RFA forward continues to be cited by league sources as an “increasingly likely” target for Detroit. The Pistons will have the cap space necessary to put pressure on Brooklyn with a substantial offer sheet if they so choose.

Rory Maher contributed to this story.

Fischer’s Latest: Hunter, Pistons, Collins, Jazz, Poole, Herro

The Hawks didn’t end up making any major moves on draft day, but they continue to explore potential trade options around the league, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

According to Fischer, in addition to having talked to Indiana about a possible deal involving forward De’Andre Hunter, the Hawks also had “significant” discussions with the Pistons about a trade that would have sent the 25-year-old to Detroit.

Hunter isn’t the only Hawks forward whose name is popping up in trade talks this week. Fischer says Atlanta has also been active on the John Collins front, re-engaging the Jazz in conversations about the big man who has been consistently mentioned in trade rumors for multiple years. However, it doesn’t sound like the two sides gained serious traction in those negotiations.

Here’s more from Fischer’s post-draft report for Yahoo Sports:

  • Before agreeing to trade Jordan Poole to Washington, the Warriors also talked to the Celtics and Spurs about him, writes Fischer. Boston moved forward with its Kristaps Porzingis deal instead, while San Antonio “never made a significant offer” for Poole, according to Fischer, who adds that Golden State also had “serious” talks with the Pacers about a deal involving the No. 7 overall pick and Jonathan Kuminga.
  • Given that the Wizards were making it in a point in most of their trade discussions not to take back any long-term money, some opposing executives have wondered if they intend to flip Poole to another team, says Fischer. However, sources tell Yahoo Sports that the Warriors are under the impression that Washington plans to keep the high-scoring guard.
  • Golden State’s trade of Poole has increased speculation among rival executives that the Heat may take a similar path and look to deal Tyler Herro sooner rather than later, per Fischer. Herro didn’t play a role in Miami’s run to the NBA Finals this spring due to a hand injury, and his four-year $120MM+ contract is very similar to Poole’s.
  • People around the NBA think there may be some “atypical” trade activity before the start of free agency, according to Fischer. The new CBA will take effect in July, so teams may want to take advantage of certain old rules – like the ability of tax-apron teams to take back up to 125% of the salaries they send out in trades – before they expire.

Hawks, Pacers Active On Trade Market As De’Andre Hunter Deal Breaks Down

The Hawks are working to shake up their roster, but a potential deal with the Pacers appears to have fallen apart after the teams were moving toward an agreement Tuesday night, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Atlanta would have sent De’Andre Hunter to Indiana in the proposed trade, sources tell Fischer. Although more details on the deal aren’t available, the Hawks reportedly want to move into the top 10 in the draft. Sources tell Fischer that the Pacers weren’t willing to part with the No. 7 pick to acquire Hunter.

Fischer adds that Indiana is in the market for a starting forward, and he hears that the team has reached out to the Warriors about Jonathan Kuminga. He adds that the Pacers may wait until free agency and target players such as Harrison Barnes, Kyle Kuzma and Grant Williams.

The Hawks are among the league’s most active teams in pre-draft trade talks, according to Fischer. He states that Hunter appears to be involved in most of the deals, but John Collins, Dejounte Murray and Clint Capela could be available as well.

Sources tell Fischer that Dallas might be open to trading the No. 10 pick in a package involving Atlanta’s No. 15 selection, depending on who’s still left on the board. Fischer hears that the Mavericks‘ willingness to move down may change if Cam Whitmore or Taylor Hendricks is still available.

The Hawks made several offers to the Raptors for Pascal Siakam, including at least one three-team deal, sources tell Fischer. Rival teams believe Toronto’s high asking price is the biggest impediment to a deal for either Siakam or OG Anunoby.

The Raptors seem to be considering moves both up and down the draft board, Fischer adds. He hears from sources that Toronto, which holds the No. 13 pick, has talked to the Magic about No. 11, the Warriors about No. 19 and the Nets, who have Nos. 21 and 22.

Suns Eyeing Celtics’ Malcolm Brogdon In Trade Talks

According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Suns haven’t found many suitors for Chris Paul‘s $30.8MM contract, which is partially guaranteed at $15.8MM.

They lack the draft capital to move off Paul’s salary, Fischer notes, and trade rules make it tricky to find a workable deal between two parties, as Paul’s outgoing salary for matching purposes is only $15.8MM, but his incoming salary for his new team would be the full $30.8MM.

That has led the Suns to explore three-team scenarios for Paul, Fischer reports, with the goal of finding a team with cap room to take on the veteran guard’s salary. Rival teams think the Spurs might be an option in that scenario, though it’s unclear whether they’d have any interest in Paul, and it seems unlikely he’d want to stick with a rebuilding club.

Despite already having Zach Collins and the No. 1 overall pick in next week’s draft, which they will use on 7’5″ French phenom Victor Wembanyama, the Spurs appear to be in the market for a starting-caliber center, per Fischer, with the goal of reducing the Wembanyama’s workload as a thin incoming rookie.

As for players the Suns are targeting in the three-team talks, sources tell Fischer that Phoenix continues to be intrigued by Hawks forward John Collins, and he adds a new name as well: Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year.

Brogdon, who has a $22.5MM cap hit in each of the next two seasons, could be on the move due to Boston’s financial situation and roster makeup, with a glut of guards that includes Marcus Smart, Payton Pritchard and Derrick White. Fischer confirms the Celtics are looking for help at other positions, and rival teams think White is the least likely of that group to be dealt.

Hawks “Open To Conversations” On Anyone But Trae Young

After a tumultuous 2022/23 season saw the Hawks fire their head coach for the second time in three seasons, there was a rumor they might consider trading Trae Young, who reportedly had issues with both Lloyd Pierce and Nate McMillan.

However, Young expressed confidence in new head coach Quin Snyder after the 2022/23 season ended, and league sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports the Hawks are “open to conversations” on anyone on their roster except for their point guard, implying they plan to continue building around the two-time All-Star.

That said, Fischer cautions Atlanta isn’t actively looking to move certain players, particularly Dejounte Murray. Sources tell Fischer the Hawks highly value Murray, whom the team acquired last offseason from San Antonio. Atlanta’s front office is apparently using some sort of tiered ranking system for the roster, and the 26-year-old stands on his own just below Young, according to Fischer.

Fischer previously reported that the Hawks discussed a framework of a trade that would have sent John Collins and the No. 15 pick in next week’s draft to the Mavericks in exchange for Davis Bertans and No. 10. It sounds as though Dallas balked at that proposal, so there wasn’t much progress in the talks, but Fischer hears from sources who say the Mavs might be open to a deal if Clint Capela was the incoming player instead of Collins.

Onyeka Okongwu is the Hawks player most rival teams have expressed interest in, according to Fischer, with Capela, Collins and De’Andre Hunter also viewed as trade candidates. However, Capela has good chemistry with Young, and the Hawks value Hunter, having signed him to a lucrative rookie scale extension before ’22/23 started, Fischer notes.

The Hawks are expected to keep Saddiq Bey, whom the team acquired for five second-round picks at the February trade deadline, Fischer adds. Like Okongwu, Bey will be eligible for a rookie scale extension extension this summer.

Sources tell Fischer that Atlanta is thought to be high on Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, who has one year left on his contract. Siakam will be extension-eligible this summer, but the two-time All-NBA member could choose to hold off on that decision, as he’ll be eligible for a super-max extension with Toronto in 2024 if he makes another All-NBA team in ’23/24 (he missed out on the honor this past season).