NBA Trade Rumors: Should the Rockets pass or pursue John Collins?

N.B. Lindberg
Atlanta Hawks Media Day
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According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Atlanta Hawks have opened preliminary trade discussions involving John Collins. The sixth-year forward has struggled to find a role in Atlanta’s offense this season. The addition of Dejounte Murray was supposed to catapult the Hawks into contention, and it largely has, but the downside has been the marginalization of Collins. 

John Collins and the Hawks were destined for a breakup

Collins was once viewed as an integral building block next to Trae Young. Over 102 games between his age 21 and 22 seasons, he averaged 20.3 points per game on 57% shooting and 37.4% 3-point shooting, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks. However, in each season since, Collins has seen his field goal attempts and points per game decline. An oddity for a player who was so productive so early in their career. 

Starting in the summer of 2020, the Hawks and Collins relationship became increasingly strained. The two sides failed to agree to a rookie scale extension following his third season in the league. Months later, it was reported that the Hawks offered him a $90 million extension in January of 2021 that Collins turned down. 

The Hawks would go on to make the Eastern Conference Finals and placed a qualifying offer on Collins to make him a restricted free agent in the summer of 2021. In the end, the two sides ended up agreeing on a five-year, $125 million extension. The whole situation reeked of an organization that wasn’t fully invested in a player but didn’t want to lose the asset. 

The Hawks’ lukewarm belief in Collins is the rest of the league’s gain. They’re selling low on a tremendously talented player under contract for at least two more seasons at around $25 million. The question is, should the Houston Rockets pass on the opportunity to land Collins or pursue him?