John Collins

Jazz Notes: Bulls’ Scuffle, Collins, Hendricks, Dunn

The Jazz’s 119-117 loss to the Bulls on Wednesday included a scuffle in the closing seconds, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic reports.

With Utah down one and nine seconds left, Collin Sexton fouled DeMar DeRozan next to the Bulls’ bench. Sexton and injured Bulls forward Torrey Craig exchanged words, leading to an escalation. Bulls assistant coach Chris Fleming shoved Utah big man John Collins, who reached for Fleming’s neck before they were separated.

“I ran over. I’m standing there. And the coach comes over and just shoves me for no reason,” Collins said. “Y’all can go watch the film. And I just protected myself. I’m literally just standing there, and the dude puts a forearm in my chest and is pushing me back. So I don’t know. He needs some more self-control. But it’s whatever. I don’t know what to say about that. That was weird.”

A technical foul was called on Craig, while Collins and Fleming were handed double technicals. DeRozan’s free throws proved to be decisive but Bulls coach Billy Donovan was upset with his team and staff.

“We’ve got to be able to do a better job than that all the way around,” he said. “And I’m not just saying the players. On the bench. Everybody. We’ve got to be better in those moments.”

We have more Jazz news:

  • Rookie forward Taylor Hendricks will be reevaluated next week after injuring his left big toe, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News tweets. Hendricks, whose playing time has expanded since the trade deadline, was injured during the second quarter of the Jazz’s game against Washington on Monday. An MRI confirmed a ligament sprain to the toe.
  • Kris Dunn has revived his career with the Jazz after stints in the G League during the 2021/22 and ’22/23 seasons. The 2016 lottery pick never lost faith that he’d return to the NBA, he told K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I always knew I was going to get back,” he said. “The main thing with me was the health part. I had to get my body back and then my shooting. I had to clean those two things up.” Dunn will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.
  • In case you missed it, Isaiah Thomas has joined the Jazz’s G League, the Salt Lake City Stars, with the aim of getting another NBA contract.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Collins, A. Ainge, Bryant, Rozier

Despite being involved in countless rumors in the months leading up to the trade deadline, the Hawks‘ front office decided to stand pat. As John Hollinger of The Athletic writes, Atlanta hasn’t made any type of significant move since trading John Collins to Utah last June in a salary dump.

It’s strange for a middling team to be so inactive, especially since the Hawks had high hopes after trading for Dejounte Murray a couple years ago. But pairing him with Trae Young hasn’t worked out over the past two seasons, particularly on the defensive end, Hollinger notes.

However, Young underwent successful hand surgery on Tuesday and will be sidelined for at least four weeks, giving Murray an opportunity to play his natural position — point guard — while Young is out. As Hollinger observes, despite his relatively diminutive stature, Young has been quite durable over the course of his career, so it will be the Hawks’ first real opportunity in several years to see what they can do without the three-time All-Star.

If the Hawks play well without Young, Hollinger wonders if they’ll be more inclined to trade the 25-year-old this summer instead of Murray, who is on a less expensive long-term contract. Either way, Hollinger argues the Hawks shouldn’t continue their transactional inactivity, as the current roster is too good to bottom out but not good enough to contend for anything meaningful.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • John Collins had an emotional return to Atlanta on Tuesday, per Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. The former Hawks big man spent his first six seasons with the team before being traded to the Jazz last offseason. “I was aware it was going to be very emotional for me. I was doing my best to not let it, but it did,” Collins said.
  • After previously reporting a few “prime” contenders to become the Hornets‘ new lead basketball executive, veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein adds another name to the list of possible candidates (via Twitter): Celtics assistant GM Austin Ainge, the son of Jazz CEO Danny Ainge. Austin has been with Boston in various roles for well over a decade.
  • The NBA will allow Heat backup center Thomas Bryant to receive his 2023 championship ring on Thursday in Denver, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link), who notes that suspended players are not normally permitted inside arenas on game days. However, the league decided to make an exception for Bryant, who will have to leave after the pregame ceremony. Bryant was a role player last year for the Nuggets.
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald takes a look at what the Heat are expecting from trade acquisition Terry Rozier, who returned to action on Tuesday after battling a knee sprain. Rozier says he’s still trying to find the right balance now that he’s not the top offensive option like he was for part of the season in Charlotte. “For sure,” Rozier said. “Not trying to do too much, but you got guys over there screaming at me, telling me I need to shoot the ball. Just trying to figure it out. Wins is all we really care about.

Western Rumors: Suns, Rockets, O’Neale, Tate, Jazz, Grizzlies

The Suns continue to keep an eye on Nets forward Royce O’Neale and Rockets wing Jae’Sean Tate, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who hears from league sources that Phoenix has discussed a package of Nassir Little and second-round picks for one of those two players.

As Scotto details, the Suns are hoping to find a wing and/or a frontcourt piece on the trade market and will likely be aggressive on the buyout market looking for that sort of player if they’re unable to make a deal. Phoenix will be prohibited from signing a player whose pre-waiver salary exceeds $12.4MM, but not every player on the buyout market will fit that bill.

The Rockets, who are among the other teams with interest in O’Neale, have sought either a late first-round pick or multiple second-rounders to part with Tate, league sources tell Scotto. Aaron Holiday is another Houston player who has generated trade interest.

If the Rockets were to acquire draft assets for a player like Tate or Holiday, they could ultimately flip those picks for another rotation player, Scotto writes.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference in advance of today’s trade deadline:

  • Scotto hears from multiple executives who have explored trading for Kelly Olynyk that the Jazz are seeking draft compensation — ideally a first-round pick. Another potential Utah trade candidate, Kris Dunn, appears likely to stick with the team through the deadline unless the team gets an “unexpected” offer it can’t refuse, a league source tells HoopsHype.
  • The Jazz have had some talks with the Hornets about forward P.J. Washington, according to Ian Begley of, who says John Collins came up in those discussions.
  • Rival executives believe that some of the Grizzlies‘ recent first-round picks – Ziaire Williams, David Roddy, and Jake LaRavia – could be trade candidates, given the emergence of cheaper youngsters like Vince Williams and GG Jackson, says Scotto. Memphis is facing a bit of a roster and cap crunch for 2024/25, so creating a bit more flexibility in both areas would help.
  • Suns head coach Frank Vogel said on Wednesday won’t mind if his front office decides to stand pat at the deadline, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I’m very in the loop with all of those conversations, but as I said (Tuesday), we love where we’re at as a team,” Vogel said. “If we don’t do anything, I’ll be really happy with the group we have, but obviously, you always look at ways to improve your team.”

Stein’s Latest: Rockets, Barnes, O’Neale, Hunter, Bogdanovic, Jazz, Murray

The Rockets are pursuing frontcourt options to give Most Improved Player Award candidate Alperen Şengün some help, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack post. They’re danging Victor Oladipo‘s expiring $9.5MM deal and Jock Landale‘s contract, which isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, as enticements. Houston is also seeking another shooter and has shown interest in the Kings’ Harrison Barnes, according to Stein.

Here are more tidbits from Stein’s story:

  • Barnes could be on the move, despite signing a three-year, $54MM extension last offseason. However, the Kings would prefer to get an impact player using Barnes as part of the package. They’ve had discussions with the Raptors regarding a potential Pascal Siakam deal. The Kings have also made Kevin Huerter and Davion Mitchell available but have no interest in dealing second-year forward Keegan Murray.
  • Stein suggested a couple of days ago that the Cavaliers might pursue Royce O’Neale to fill their 3-and-D need. He now hears that the Nets forward is indeed on Cleveland’s list of targets. The Hawks’ De’Andre Hunter could also be a target to watch for Cleveland, but his contract — he’s in the first year of a four-year, $90MM extension — would make the Cavs’ future cap issues more challenging. O’Neale will be a free agent after the season.
  • The Pistons had some exploratory discussions with a number of teams regarding swingman Bojan Bogdanović. However, it’s not a certainty they’ll deal him, says Stein. They may want to keep him around to help avoid setting the NBA record for the worst all-time season record, currently held by Sixers (9-73).
  • The Jazz’s surge up the Western Conference standings has made it tougher to predict what their front office will do in the coming weeks. Kelly Olynyk and Jordan Clarkson are the veterans most frequently mentioned as potential trade pieces but the chatter regarding John Collins has died down since he became the team’s starting center, according to Stein. Top exec Danny Ainge will still likely listen to trade pitches for virtually any player on the roster.
  • Dejounte Murray‘s list of potential suitors includes the Spurs, Lakers, Nets, Knicks and Pistons, Stein reports. The Hawks, as previously noted, are looking to replenish their draft assets after they gave up three first-round picks (two of their own) and a pick swap to acquire him from San Antonio in 2022.

Jazz Notes: Lineup, Preston, George, Confidence

Jazz coach Will Hardy has been doing a lot of tinkering with the starting lineup and rotation and it’s paying off, according to Sarah Todd of the Deseret News. Utah has had 12 different players in the starting lineup at some point.

“I think it just shows our depth and that we can win in a lot of different ways,” guard Collin Sexton said. “You’ve just got to be ready when your number is called.”

In their win over Milwaukee on Monday, the Jazz started John Collins, Lauri Markkanen, Simone Fontecchio, Sexton and Kris Dunn.

We have more on the Jazz:

  • Jason Preston received a two-year two-way contract from the Jazz on Monday, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. Preston will get the maximum two-way guarantee for next season, which is equivalent to an Exhibit 10 bonus –that figure was worth $75K this season and will increase at the same rate as the salary cap. Utah waived Josh Christopher to make room for Preston, who had been playing for the Memphis Hustle in the G League.
  • Keyonte George admits it’s been a struggle for him since returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him for six games, he told Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune. The rookie has been relegated to a bench role, though he delivered a 19-point, four-assist performance against Milwaukee on Monday. “Yeah, to be honest, a little difficult for sure. I mean, I’m human,” George said. “It’s gonna take some time to get back to where I was and try to figure out times be aggressive and times where you’re trying to get people involved.”
  • After winning eight of their last 10 games, including road victories over Philadelphia and Milwaukee, the Jazz are feeling better than they have all season, Walden writes. “I like to call it ‘swag,’ and our swag is a little up right now,” Dunn said. “We just keep doing the right things. We have a lot of talent on this team. If we move the ball, if we guard at a high level, good things can happen, as we showed in this three-game road trip.”

Stein’s Latest: Carter, Jazz, Hawks, Murray, Sixers, More

In his latest Substack article, Marc Stein reports that Magic center Wendell Carter is a “player to monitor” ahead of the February 8 trade deadline.

As Stein explains, Orlando has played above expectations through 34 games (the team is currently 19-15), but it has a deep frontcourt featuring Carter, Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, Moritz Wagner, Goga Bitadze and Jonathan Isaac. Carter has only appeared in 13 games due to hand and knee injuries, and has been coming off the bench of late after he returned.

Those factors, plus needing to eventually re-sign or extend Franz Wagner and Banchero beyond their rookie scale contracts, has led rivals to believe that Carter will be available this winter, Stein writes.

A former lottery pick who is still just 24 years old, Carter has been a productive starter for the Magic the past few seasons and is on a fairly team-friendly contract, which will pay him $35.85MM over the next three seasons (it declines annually, down to $10.85MM in 2025/26). However, he has also missed at least 18 games in every season of his six-year career due to a variety of injuries.

Here are some more trade rumors from Stein:

  • It has been reported multiple times that the Jazz were expected to be sellers ahead of the trade deadline, but they’ve gone 9-3 over their past 12 games and are currently 16-19, a game out of the final play-in spot in the West. That rise up the standings has rival front offices wondering what Utah will do now, per Stein. League sources tell Stein that John Collins is one player the Jazz are continuing to try and move, though it’s unclear how much success they’ll have after acquiring him in the offseason in a salary dump.
  • Stein confirms recent reporting from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports about the Hawks, who are actively involved in trade conversations regarding Dejounte Murray and possibly several players on the roster outside of Trae Young and Jalen Johnson. Bogdan Bogdanovic is expected to be widely coveted by rival teams, according to Stein.
  • Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report said in a live stream on Friday that the Sixers and Lakers could be eventual Murray suitors, and the Knicks have been “increasingly” linked to the former All-Star guard, Stein adds.
  • The Sixers are unlikely to pursue Zach LaVine or Pascal Siakam, with the team looking to take a “thoughtful” approach at the deadline, according to Stein, who gets a “strong sense” that Philadelphia will likely make moves around the edges if it makes more in-season trades.
  • Multiple reporters have linked the Lakers to LaVine, but Stein continues to hear they haven’t been interested — at least to this point — in taking on his long-term money. The two-time All-Star is in the second season of a five-year, $215MM contract.

Central Notes: Mitchell, Stewart, Giannis, Beachamp, A. Jackson

Donovan Mitchell didn’t want to discuss his future on Saturday after leading the Cavaliers to a win in their first game since long-term injuries knocked Darius Garland and Evan Mobley out of the lineup, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. There is already speculation that Mitchell, who has a $37MM player option for 2025/26, will end up somewhere else if he turns down an extension offer from Cleveland. Rumors escalated on Friday when the Cavs announced the prognosis for Garland and Mobley, but it’s not a topic Mitchell feels like addressing.

“My job is to focus on this,” he said, referring to on-court matters. “We have two guys that are out, so I’m not answering anything. And no disrespect. I appreciate that you have to ask the question, but I’m not going there with any of those questions. My focus is on these guys being out, us trying to find a way to get wins.”

Mitchell posted a career-high 13 assists as he took over full-time point guard duties in Garland’s absence. According to Vardon, coach J.B. Bickerstaff talked to Mitchell before the game about the need to get role players involved in the offense as they handle more responsibility with Garland and Mobley sidelined. Bickerstaff is also seeking greater production from center Jarrett Allen, who finished Saturday’s game with 25 points and 14 rebounds.

“J.B. said before the game, it’s not our job to go out there and try to be Superman,” Allen said. “It’s not our job to go out there and try to make up for everything that’s lost. It’s just for us to try to find one area that we can improve in and try to help the team win.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Several contenders, including the Celtics, Thunder and Mavericks, have expressed an interest in Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart, sources tell James L. Edwards of The Athletic. Stewart has been one of the few bright spots in Detroit’s ugly season, averaging 10.2 points and 6.8 rebounds through 25 games. He signed a four-year, $64MM extension this summer and would be subject to the poison pill provision in any trade until July 1. Edwards also addresses trade suggestions from readers, saying he’s heard the Pistons don’t have interest in adding Utah’s John Collins or Charlotte’s P.J. Washington.
  • After passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the Bucks‘ career leader in rebounding Sunday night, Giannis Antetokounmpo talked about what it means to eclipse an NBA legend, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “That a kid from Greece, a skinny kid from Greece that was drafted, supposed to play in the G League, be in a position to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record, I don’t think anybody thought about that,” Antetokounmpo said.
  • MarJon Beauchamp and Andre Jackson are both contributing to a Bucks team that needs production from its young wings, Nehm adds in a full story.

Jazz’s John Collins Reportedly On Trade Block

The Jazz are open to trading forward John Collins, a team source tells Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune (subscriber link).

The news is somewhat surprising, since Utah just traded for Collins in July. Still, the Jazz only gave up a second-round pick to acquire the 26-year-old, who was essentially salary dumped by the Hawks after being involved in rumors for years.

As Larsen explains, the Jazz have been “frustrated” by Collins’ “slow uptake” on learning the team’s system on both offense and defense. He also has the worst net rating differential on the team (minus-11.8), and hasn’t provided much beyond his solid shooting and rebounding, says Larsen.

However, Collins’ “iffy” performance early in 2023/24 — plus the $77MM he’s owed over the next three years — could make it difficult for the Jazz to find a trade partner, according to Larsen. Utah acquired the seven-year veteran to either have him as long-term piece or to flip him in the future for a positive return. Both of those scenarios seem unlikely at this point.

Here are a few more Jazz notes and rumors from Larsen:

  • Aside from Collins, guards Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton are also in Larsen’s “more likely to be traded” category, and he notes that a previous report from Michael Scotto of HoopsHype indicated that Talen Horton-Tucker and Kelly Olynyk could be on the trade block too. Clarkson, Sexton and Horton-Tucker are all guards who “have had a penchant for over-dribbling, turnovers, and poor shot selection” in ’23/24, Larsen writes. Utah likes Sexton’s intensity and effort, but is looking for long-term backcourt members “who are more natural play-makers or have more defensive size.”
  • Scotto reported that the Jazz could be in the market for a veteran point guard, but Larsen hears they’d only be interested if the price is right. The team’s disappointing start will likely have the front office prioritizing the future over a big win-now splash unless a superstar becomes available, per Larsen.
  • The Jazz are unlikely to trade for Bulls guard Zach LaVine “unless it comes at a bargain-basement price,” the source tells Larsen.
  • As for the players the team wants to keep, that group features Lauri Markkanen, Keyonte George, Taylor Hendricks, Walker Kessler and Ochai Agbaji, according to Larsen. Hendricks was selected ninth overall in June’s draft, but has spent most of the season in the G League. However, the Jazz are strong believers in his potential, and declined “an otherwise promising trade opportunity” involving Hendricks over the summer, Larsen reports.

Lauri Markkanen To Return On Wednesday

6:31pm: Both Markkanen and Kessler will be available on Wednesday, head coach Will Hardy said (Twitter link via Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune). Markkanen will be on a “flexible” minutes restriction.

1:03pm: The Jazz appear likely to have All-Star forward Lauri Markkanen back in action on Wednesday for the first time since November 22. Markkanen has been upgraded to probable to play in Utah’s game vs. the Knicks, per the team (Twitter link).

The Jazz’s leading scorer this season, Markkanen averaged 23.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game with a shooting line of .484/.383/.840 in 15 games (34.1 MPG) before straining his left hamstring. He has been sidelined for the past eight games due to that injury.

While Utah pulled out a pair of upset victories over the Pelicans at home in Markkanen’s first two games on the shelf, the club has lost five of its last six contests and has the NBA’s worst offensive rating (102.3) during that stretch.

In other words, getting the 26-year-old forward back in their lineup would be a boon for the Jazz, who won’t have second-leading scorer Jordan Clarkson (right hamstring strain) or third-leading scorer John Collins (illness) available on Wednesday vs. New York.

Center Walker Kessler (right foot soreness) has also been upgraded to probable for Wednesday’s game after missing the Jazz’s loss in Oklahoma City on Monday.

Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson To Miss At Least Two Weeks

Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson will be out at least two weeks due to a leg injury, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets via a team release.

According to the team, Clarkston suffered a thigh injury in late November, which led to more issues.

The statement read, “During Utah’s game versus New Orleans on Nov. 27, Jordan Clarkson sustained a right thigh contusion after falling into the stands. Following last night’s game against Oklahoma City, he experienced continued hamstring discomfort. Upon further magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Clarkson was diagnosed with a right bicep femoris strain. He will be reevaluated in two weeks.”

Clarkson is averaging a career-best 4.9 assists in 19 games played but his overall offensive numbers have dipped compared to last season, when he averaged a career-high 20.8 points per game while shooting 44.4%. He’s down to 16.6 PPG on 39.9% shooting so far this fall.

Clarkson renegotiated and extended his contract in July. He’s making $23.49MM this season, though his salary drops to $14.1MM next season and $14.3MM in 2025/26.

Collin Sexton, Talen Horton-Tucker and Kris Dunn could all get more playing time with Clarkson sidelined.

Utah’s frontcourt of Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler, John Collins are all listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Knicks. That trio didn’t play against the Thunder.