The Brooklyn Nets (27-14) could use a break in the wake of Kevin Durant’s MCL sprain that will have him sidelined for a month. They certainly gave a solid effort against the Boston Celtics though the result was still a 109-98 loss.
There were calls for the Nets to make a move to bolster their depth even before Durant went down, particularly on the interior.
They have been linked to several big men of varying caliber in recent weeks.
One of their top targets, Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins appears to be even more available, perhaps surprising considering he has been on the trade block for the last two-plus years. But a new development could work in the Nets’ favor and, at the very least, could inspire them to make a move sooner rather than later if possible.
John Collins’ Price Tag Has Dropped
“Executives who have spoken to the Hawks about acquiring the veteran forward recently have indicated that the asking price has…declined significantly this time around,” reports Sam Amick of The Athletic. “In some scenarios, the Hawks are merely asking for a quality player in return”.
Amick notes that the Hawks had previously sought a quality player in addition to a first-round pick to move Collins to a new destination.
Now, NBA correspondent Marc Stein reports an additional new twist.
“In recent weeks,” writes Stein, “Atlanta has blessed John Collins’ representatives to do their own searching for a deal construction that enables Collins to move on to a long-anticipated new address after constant trade speculation involving the sixth-year forward stretching across multiple transaction cycles.”
Collins signed a five-year, $125 million contract after hitting free agency in the 2021 offseason but the Hawks were reluctant to give even that to the former 19th overall pick in 2017 and the longest-tenured member of the roster.
A previous report from Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney says their previous asking price was “in the neighborhood” of the returns for Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.
This drop could certainly work in the Nets’ favor.
Nets Limited Draft Assets Hurt
As it stands, the earliest first-rounder the Nets can trade is in 2027. Brooklyn has the Philadelphia 76ers’ 2023 first-round pick coming in after deferring. But, due to the NBA’s Stepien rule, cannot trade it as it would leave them without a pick in the draft’s opening round in back-to-back years.
They currently have two picks that year.
More importantly, there is some reason to believe the Hawks might have an interest in a package consisting of one of those firsts, a 2029 first-round pick (they will have access through 2030 at the draft), and a swap plus a player or two – Joe Harris plus Cam Thomas would match salaries – if the bidding intensifies.
Otherwise, the Nets could just offer the players giving Atlanta more needed three-point shooting and a young guard while ridding themselves of Collins’ contract.
Atlanta has also had an interest in Ben Simmons but he has become a key member in Brooklyn.
Going For It All
The Nets get Collins who, while mired in his second-consecutive down season, is a solid team defender and has a 21-point, 10-rebound season under his belt. He also plays with high energy and has made it a point to be a source of encouragement for his teammates.
Of course, there are several teams linked to the high-flying big man.
Stein noted the Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz, and Washinton Wizards in addition to the Nets as potential suitors. This could get expensive quick and the Nets will have to weigh the cost versus the risk if it does come to giving the full offer of players and picks for Collins – it might be their last big shot to make such a move for some time.