If Hawks Star Is Unhappy In Atlanta, Can Celtics Swoop In?

Getty Images John Collins could be on his way out of Atlanta. Is this a player the Celtics should target?

If John Collins and the Atlanta Hawks are destined to part ways this season – in light of a conflict between its young disgruntled center and an ascending All-Star in Trae Young – what could this potentially mean for the Boston Celtics?

Boston, a team that most NBA analysts anticipated struggling out of the gate, has proven the contrary. The Celtics (7-3) are on a four-game winning streak and currently tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for first place in the Eastern Conference.

But should Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge find a way to, somehow, consolidate their young talent, package it with draft picks, and attempt to reel in the 23-year-old? Collins, whose days in Atlanta are seemingly numbered, in wake of his recent outburst, is an ideal option for Boston but will Ainge’s offer be enough for someone of Collins’ stature?

Celtics’ Grant Williams, Romeo Langford & Future First-Round Picks To Hawks For John Collins?

Granted, Robert Williams’ recent stride in his progression, thus far, let’s keep him out of this and assume Boston isn’t quite done Time Lording, yet. With that, the absolute best, most-realistic offer Ainge can put on the table would be Grant Williams, Romeo Langford, and a pair of future first-round picks.

It’s a reach but given Grant’s age – 22-years-old – and his outside touch this season – 41.2% – Atlanta could see the upside when you factor in Langford, who would address the Hawks’ secondary wing defense and offer upside on the opposite end as he still has plenty of room to grow.

Why John Collins Would Be A Good Fit In Boston

Collins, who made a leap into 20/10 (21.6 points/10.1 rebounds) territory last season, is off to the slowest start since his rookie season. Nine games in, he’s averaging 17.2 points and 7.8 rebounds – which is the kind of double-double guy that could thrive in Brad Stevens’ double-big starting lineup.

John’s outside shooting can spread the floor for guys like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and be added muscle defensively in the frontcourt. As for the Hawks, there’s still no word on if the organization is actively pursuing a trade or if Collins’ remarks will force the organization to shop around its prospect at all.

Young, who finished with 7 points on 2-of-9 attempts, including 0-of-3 in 3-pointers attempted in Friday’s 102-94 loss against the Charlotte Hornets, was not himself. For a player who averaged 20.8 shots a game in 2019-2020, Trae was reluctant to play at a high level, which was putting it mildly.

It was obvious what happened between him and Collins had carried over from the day before into Friday night’s loss in Charlotte.

Report: Atlanta Hawks’ Conflict During Film Study Between Trae Young, John Collins

Due to a fiery team film-study session. According to The Athletic‘s Chris Kirschner and Sam Amick, sources say it was then when Collins voiced his displeasure with the offense, or to be specific, the way his point guard leads it.

“John Collins, the fourth-year big man who just weeks before bet on himself in a big way during his failed extension talks with the Hawks, shared his unfiltered and unhappy views about the way franchise centerpiece Trae Young was running the offense,” Kirschner and Amick of The Athletic wrote. “According to three sources who were either in the session or had knowledge of what was said, Collins raised several issues about the way these Hawks were functioning with Young at the helm.”

The Hawks center reportedly zeroed in on shot attempts and the overall flow of Atlanta’s offense, including his role.

“Collins talked about the need to get into the offensive set more quickly and to limit all those early shot-clock attempts that leave his teammates on the outside looking in,” Kirschner and Amick added. “He shared his desire to be more involved and expressed a desire for more ball involvement and flow on offense.”

Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young ‘Strongly Disagrees’ With Collins’ Assessment

According to these sources, the spat wasn’t much of an argument between the two as it was viewed more as Collins voicing his displeasure with the team. Still, the incident resonated in the locker room.

“There was no back-and-forth between the two but the point of criticism caught the attention of the room,” sources told Kirschner and Amick. “And Young, sources say, made it clear to others later that he strongly disagreed with Collins’ assessment.”

READ NEXT: Breaking: Jayson Tatum Ruled Out Due To COVID-19 Protocols

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