The Boston Celtics have long held an interest John Collins, but nothing has ever materialized in the way of trade, despite multiple seasons worth of rumors.
However, according to Jake Fischer on the Please Don’t Aggregate This Podcast, the Celtics did test the Atlanta Hawk’s resolve on draft night, but the discussions didn’t go further than an initial telephone call.
“I do know that Boston called about him at one point in this draft cycle, but never brought this up publicly previously because I was told that it was never very serious that we’re going to get very far,” Fischer said.
No further information about the reported discussion has been released, but it’s fair to assume that Atlanta’s asking price was outside of what Boston was willing to pay, and as such, the discussions quickly ended and Collins remained a Hawks player.
Collins is ‘Done’ With Atlanta
For multiple seasons in a row, Collins has found himself being shopped around the league by the Hawks front office, and according to a report by Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, Collins is ‘done’ with the Hawks after another summer of being in limbo.
“The truth is no one across the league who I’ve spoken with believes Collins will be on the Hawks’ opening night roster. The unfortunate reality is Collins and his family are left in limbo as they await what feels inevitable. It’s become an all-too-familiar situation for Collins several years running now…It’s obvious that the Hawks view one of their pathways to getting better as trading Collins. Everyone expects it. “He’s done in Atlanta,” a source close to Collins said,” Kirschner wrote on June 24.
Collins is coming off an impressive season where he averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per night while shooting 36.4% from three on 3.3 attempts per night, and 52.6% from the field.
Collins Could be Al Horford’s Long-Term Successor
Al Horford isn’t getting any younger, and given his significant on-court production, locating his long-term successor will quickly become a priority in Boston as he nears the end of his current contract.
That’s where Collins comes in. The 24-year-old is a capable three-point shooter, has impressive athleticism, can play high-level defense, and is an admirable scorer around the rim. Simply put, Collins brings versatility to the Celtics that not many can match, and more importantly, that will be sorely missed once Horford eventually leaves the team’s rotation.
The Celtics are still a young team with multiple players several years away from reaching their primes, which means Collins would quickly slot into the team’s core and develop alongside them. Furthermore, adding the Utah native now would allow Horford to slide into a bench role, which could help extend his career by a year or two – making this type of trade a win-win for the Celtics front office.
Unfortunately, the Hawks aren’t going to give up a talent like Collins without getting a significant return, and that’s where things get tricky. Boston was two games away from lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy last season, before falling in game six to the Golden State Warriors – so they will be unlikely to willingly give up a key piece of their core rotation, and that’s going to be the sticking point moving forward.