When Atlanta traded for Clint Capela, speculation quickly started around the league that the Hawks would move on from John Collins — they just got a new, better pick-and-roll partner for Trae Young. Reports have surfaced that teams have called Atlanta, testing the waters on a Collins trade.
Collins doesn’t want to go anywhere. Collins is eligible for a contract extension this offseason (whenever that is) and told Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he wants to stay, and thinks he has earned a max extension.
“When we’re talking max numbers and money, I feel like I definitely (am in) the conversation to have earned that money with the Hawks specifically, but obviously I know there’s business and we don’t always get exactly what we want,” Collins said. “But I want to be a Hawk, I want to stay with the Hawks.”
“I feel like we’ve both invested ourselves in each other… I feel like we both want to see our investments in each other pay off. In that sense, I just want to know where I am. I want to know I’m locked in as soon as I can rather than having to wait, which I know happens, but when you do wait, a lot of other stuff mentally creeps in during the season while I’m tired, while I’m playing, ups and downs, injuries, but that’s also a part of just being a pro athlete.”
With a condensed offseason and a shrinking salary cap in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown, this may not be the offseason to push for an extension. Right now, the Hawks aren’t likely to be handing out an extension, certainly not a max anyway, not with questions about the fit of Collins and Capela next to each other.
Collins — who missed 25 games this season with a PED suspension — averaged 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds a game, he shot 40.1% from three (on 3.6 attempts a game) and had impressive advanced stat numbers. He’s springy, and while he can block shots he’s not a plus defender or rim protector. He’s not as good as Capela on that end. Collins also is not as experience a roll man as Capela (who set picks for James Harden in Houston for several seasons).
Collins thinks he can play the four next to Capela at the five. A lot of others around the league believe their skills overlap too much, that the Hawks are going to move on from Collins before they have to pay him. The ball is in Atlanta’s hands.
But Collins wants to stay in Atlanta.