ESPN’s Wojnarowski reports that the Atlanta Hawks have traded John Collins to the Utah Jazz. Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer also reported the trade.
Rudy Gay and a second-round selection have been traded back to the Hawks.
Collins, now 25, has been a cornerstone for the Hawks since they picked him in 2017. The return may appear paltry in light of this, but the trade frees the Hawks from their $78 million obligation to Collins over the next three years. In addition, they will allegedly receive the greatest trade exception in NBA history of $25.3 million.
Hawks’ Trade Deal Provides Salary Cap Flexibility, Player Option Update
Suppose the Hawks don’t utilize their trade exception to bring in another player. In that case, they’ll be able to keep their salary cap far below the $182.5 million second apron and the $165 million luxury tax threshold for next season, thanks to this deal. The projected salary cap for the team, according to Spotrac, is $159.5 million.
As part of the deal, Gay is said to be exercising his $6.5 million player option, which he may do until July 6.
Why did the Hawks give up on John Collins?
Collins has been the subject of intense trade rumors over the past three years, ever since he signed a controversial five-year, $125 million agreement. At his best, Collins is a versatile forward/center/power forward/power forward/power forward who can also defend well. Since the Hawks became playoff contenders, though, his stats have declined.
Collins last season had his lowest scoring average (13.1 ppg) since his rookie year, along with career lows in 3-point percentage (29.2%), rebounds per game (6.5 rpg), and assists per game (1.2 apg) in his regular 30 minutes per game workload.
Hawks Seek Complementary Players; Jazz Banking on Collins’ Revival
When Trae Young and Dejounte Murray are in the starting lineup, the Hawks need players who can thrive off the ball. Last season, after spending a lot of money to get Murray, the Atlanta Hawks only managed a 41-41 record and an eighth-place finish in the Eastern Conference. They lost to the Boston Celtics in the first round.
The Jazz are hoping Collins has a renaissance in a new system, much like Lauri Markkanen did last season when he moved from being a role player on the Cleveland Cavaliers to making his first All-Star team.
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