Recently, John Collins was traded from the Atlanta Hawks. This would come after his name had been tied to trade rumors for years. The deal sent Collins to the Utah Jazz and in return, the Atlanta Hawks received Rudy Gay and a second-round pick.
While this may seem like a lopsided deal initially, moving Collins’ massive contract off of Atlanta’s books gives them the chance to better build their roster around Trae Young and Djounte Murray. Despite this, the Hawks still lost a very promising player. Although this was a deal that was beneficial for both teams, there was a clear winner from the trade.
The case for the Atlanta Hawks winning this deal relies on what they do with the cap space they got from the trade. They have some very solid pieces on their roster, and there is no excuse for a team of their caliber to miss the playoffs.
It was clear that Collins was an odd fit on the roster, and he had one of the worst years of his entire career in the 2022-23 season. If Atlanta is able to find a quality wing player or power forward in free agency, they could have one of the strongest starting fives in the Eastern Conference. However, if they are unable to make good use of the salary cap they now have, they effectively gave up John Collins for nothing.
Despite taking on John Collins’ massive contract, the Jazz have a very compelling case for being the team that won this deal. Currently, the Jazz have a fair amount of cap space and were not set to give any of their player’s massive extensions over the offseason.
Pairing this with the fact that Utah has never been a premier free agent destination, there is a very slim chance that the Jazz was going to make a big splash in free agency. As a result of this, they do not really lose out on much by taking on his contract.
Collins could end up being an incredible pairing in the frontcourt with Walker Kessler. Last season, Kessler burst onto the scene as an incredible interior defender and rebounder. However, he does not have much of an outside game. While he had a down year last season, Collins has proven that he has what it takes to be a very quality stretch four. With both players still being relatively young, this could be a very strong start to the Jazz getting through their rebuild.
For the time being, the Jazz is the winner of this trade. However, if the Hawks are able to make good use of the cap space they gained from this deal, there is a strong chance they could end up coming out on top. Collins is still a player with a lot of upside. While he struggled to find his stride with the Hawks, with a bigger role in Utah, he is more than capable of turning things around.
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