The Hawks have had John Collins on the trade block for two years, though Travis Schlenk never pulled the trigger on any deal that was received for the 25-year-old forward. Now, he has become a salary dump for the Hawks and they found a partner who is building a young team. A team that can take on that kind of salary in the Jazz. The versatile forward will now play in a frontcourt with All-Star Lauri Markkanen and All-Rookie center Walker Kessler. The Jazz also drafted Taylor Hendricks with their ninth overall pick, Hendricks is a power forward out of Central Florida. The Jazz were an offensive revelation under first-year coach Will Hardy, and Collins’ arrival could help Utah return to the Western Conference playoffs as early next season.
The two sides have been working on a deal for over a year, but the reality of a new CBA had changed how difficult it would be to unload the contract. Like how the Golden State Warriors recently did with Jordan Poole’s contract.
The addition of Rudy Gay, who has already exercised his $6.4M player option for next season, allows the Hawks to drop far below the $182.5 million second apron and beneath the $165 million luxury tax threshold for the 2023-24 season. Atlanta may not be done either, with new management being given the OK to move into the luxury tax for roster improvements.
Collins had become a nearly invisible piece to the Hawks offense, with sub-30% three-point shooting. That’s tough to swallow considering he was shooting 40% and averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds per game in 2021.
Collins may be on a bit of a decline, but the Jazz are in no rush. They have a ton of draft picks left after trading both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. They have cap space. So kicking the tires on a player like Collins, who still has upside. Utah can have some patience with this type of player. It is still unknown whether they will bring back Jordan Clarkson or Talen Horton-Tucker.
Nonetheless, Utah will most likely start with a huge, talented front line with seven-footers Markkanen and Kessler alongside Collins.
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