Celtics ‘Could Have Interest’ in High-Flying Star: Report

Chicago Bulls

Getty John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts after hitting a three-point basket

After failing to win their 18th championship as a franchise, the Boston Celtics will explore every avenue they can to upgrade their roster this summer. One name that has recently been mentioned as a possible target for them is John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks.

Zach Harper of The Athletic recently reported that there have been rumblings that the Celtics are interested in acquiring Collins. He added that their possible interest in Collins stems from Al Horford’s advanced age as an NBA player.

“There’s also some chatter the Celtics could be interested in a deal for Collins. Al Horford is 36 years old, and he has one more year on his deal, which is non-guaranteed. As great as he was for them in the postseason, the Celtics shouldn’t plan on him being a viable part of this rotation for the long term. Collins is only 24 years old, and putting him with Robert Williams III and Jayson Tatum in the frontcourt would give the Celtics a young, dynamic trio up front.”

Horford’s contract is actually partially guaranteed. Because the Celtics made the 2022 NBA Finals, his contract is now guaranteed for $19.5 million. It was also confirmed in June that the Celtics plan to fully guarantee the last year of Al’s contract for $26.5 million next season.

Trading For Collins Would Be Tricky For Boston

Harper later explained in the same article that, while the Celtics have some interest in trading for him, getting him would be hard for them to pull off because doing so would require overhauling the roster, i.e. trading Jaylen Brown, to get Collins.

“The problem is … who do you give up for Collins in this scenario? It isn’t Horford. Would Jaylen Brown be in the mix here? This is where it gets quite complicated. Brown is a far better player than Collins is. Unless the Celtics have a guarantee at the point guard position that moves Marcus Smart to the two, finding some version of a Collins-for-Brown swap doesn’t make a lot of sense. Brown is from Georgia, so it would be a nice homecoming for him. My guess is Boston’s to-do list doesn’t have “get Brown back home” as a high priority. The Celtics were two wins away from a championship, and tinkering is a better operation here than an overhaul.”

Collins would be a welcome addition to Boston knowing how well he fits with the Jays’ timeline, but it’s difficult to see a scenario where the Celtics and Hawks agree to trade knowing what each has at their arsenal.

Collins is Expected to be Moved

Whether he’s traded to the Celtics or not, it appears John Collins will have a new home one way or the other next season. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said that the Hawks will try to trade Collins before the 2022 NBA Draft commences.

During the 2021-22 season, Collins averaged 16.2 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting 52.6 percent from the field including 36.4 percent from three in the 54 games he played for the Hawks this season. Collins was sidelined with a foot injury on March 11 before coming back on April 17 as the Hawks faced the Miami Heat in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

The Hawks went on to lose in five games.



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