After having his name tied up in trade rumors for the past few years, John Collins is finally no longer a member of the Atlanta Hawks and is on the move to a new team. The Hawks would give up Collins to the Utah Jazz for Rudy Gay and a second-round pick. While this may seem like a lopsided deal, this trade would free up around $25 million for the Hawks to use in free agency.
The Jazz is a team that could afford to take on Collins’ larger contract as they do not have too many players with big deals on their team. This makes this move a very low-risk high-reward move for them. As they are still a rebuilding team, Collins could be an incredible long-term piece to put alongside Walker Kessler in the frontcourt.
Although the Jazz still have a ways to go before their rebuild is complete, this was an incredible step in the right direction and may have locked in their frontcourt of the future. Kessler is a player that is a dominant paint defender, and a great finisher around the basket on the offensive end. In contrast, Collins has a stronger outside game while his athletic ability allows him to be a great shot blocker and elite dunker.
Last season, Collins had one of the worst years of his career. He finished the season averaging 13.1 points (worst since rookie year), 6.5 rebounds (career low), 1.2 assists (tied for career low), and 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 50.8% from the field (career low), and 29.2% from three (career low). With the Hawks adding Djounte Murray to their team, it led to Collins being the third option and taking the least amount of shots per game since his rookie season.
While he did not make the most of his attempts by any means in the 2022-23 season, playing for a team like the Jazz could be perfect for him. He will get the chance to play a much bigger role on the offensive end, and he likely will be able to once again find his shooting stroke.
If he is able to stretch the floor well, he and Kessler could end up being one of the top frontcourt duos in the league. With Collins only set to turn 26 years old next season, he still has a fair amount of time to add to his game before he starts to regress. While this deal may have just seemed like a way for the Hawks to free up cap space, this could be a perfect landing spot for Collins and an opportunity for him to turn his career around.
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