Pending restricted free agent John Collins is expected to remain in Atlanta through the rest of the Hawks’ playoff push this season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The 23-year-old big man has been connected with teams like the Celtics and Hornets in recent weeks, but it now seems Collins will stay put. This all after general manager Travis Schlenk said he expected the Hawks to make an offer to Collins and free agency, and after Collins said this week, “I want to be true to Atlanta for my entire career, as corny or as cheesy as it may sound to whoever.”
That all seems to have generated some momentum for Collins to at least stick around in Atlanta until free agency, as the Hawks are now winners of eight of their past nine games under interim head coach Nate McMillan. On ESPN’s Woj & Lowe trade deadline special, Woj said that the expectation as of now is that Collins will finish out the season in Atlanta, citing the difficulty of moving him for a quality player in return since he only makes $4.1 million this season.
Woj says “they are going to keep John Collins” in reference to Hawks.
“Expect him to finish the year with the Hawks”
— Zach Hood (@zhood_) March 24, 2021
Now firmly in a playoff chase, Atlanta would have been hard-pressed to replace Collins’ production. In his fourth season, Collins is averaging 18.3 points per game and shooting 54 percent from the field. He reportedly turned down a four-year, $90 million extension last fall, which will likely be the starting point for negotiations this summer. With ownership pushing hard for the Hawks to chase a playoff spot this year, Collins’ play has been a big reason for their recent run so it’s not surprising they would keep him around for the remainder and possibly re-evaluate their stance on his value come free agency.
Collins could have been among the most interesting pieces to change teams this month, but it appears teams hoping to pry him away from the Hawks will have to do so with a massive offer sheet this summer.