Proposed Trade Sends Nets a $125 Million Athletic Starter After Kyrie Deal

Sean Marks

Getty Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks faces a decision ahead of the trade deadline.

The Brooklyn Nets may not be done trading after striking a blockbuster deal sending Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks. Former NBA executive turned analyst Bobby Marks believes the Nets could target Hawks big man John Collins ahead of the February 9 trade deadline. Marks’ proposed trade has the Nets landing Collins in exchange for Joe Harris, Day’Ron Sharpe and two future first-round picks: 2027 top-8 protected and 2028 top-10 selections.

“While the Nets cannot trade their own first in 2023, 2024 and 2026 (the Rockets also have the right to swap in 2025 and 2027) they do have a 2027 top-8 protected first from Philadelphia, an unprotected first from Dallas in 2029 and their own firsts in either 2028 or 2029,” Marks wrote for ESPN on February 5, 2023. “The maximum amount of firsts they can trade is three.

“Is that enough to target the John Collins if salary filler (Joe Harris for example) is included? If there is a position of need it would be their frontcourt. Brooklyn is last in defensive rebounding percentage and 21st in second-chance points allowed per game. As for the offensive side, the Nets rank 28th in second-chance points per game. They have been outscored by 3.5 second-chance points per game this season, the worst differential in the NBA.”

John Collins Averaged 21.6 Points & 10.1 Rebounds During the Hawks’ 2019-20 Run to the Eastern Conference Finals

Few players have been mentioned more in trade talks in recent years than Collins, and it remains to be seen whether this will finally be the season when the athletic big finds his way out of the ATL. Collins’ five-year, $125 million contract has made his trade market challenging and the veteran’s modest numbers make it hard to justify the $23.5 million salary that the big man commands this season.

The athletic forward’s best season came in 2019-20 as Collins played a critical role during the Hawks’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Collins averaged 21.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 40.1% from long range during this breakout campaign.

The big man’s numbers have steadily declined since Atlanta’s deep playoff run. Collins is averaging 13.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in his first 46 starts this season.

The Hawks veteran could benefit from a change of scenery and appears to be a solid fit in the Nets lineup alongside Nic Claxton. There have been conflicting reports on just how eager Atlanta is to move Collins, but The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported the Hawks’ asking price has “decreased significantly from recent years.”

“Collins is the most likely one on the way out, of course, and it’s worth repeating that the asking price is known to have decreased significantly from recent years (per league sources, there is a focus on landing a quality player, or players, in return but no mandate for a first-round pick),” Amick detailed on February 1. “That development is clearly a reflection of the focus on salvaging this season, as opposed to recouping the vast assets lost in the Murray trade with San Antonio in the summer.”

Brooklyn Is Interested in Making a Blockbuster Trade With the Raptors: Report

The Nets could have their eyes on another blockbuster deal with the team exploring a potential trade with the Raptors. HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported that the Raptors and Nets have talked about exchanging a number of stars including Ben Simmons, Pascal Siakam, Nic Claxton and OG Anunoby.

“The Brooklyn Nets have expressed interest in trading for Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, league sources told HoopsHype,” Scotto wrote on February 6. “Brooklyn’s interest in Siakam was first reported by Marc Stein.

“Toronto covets Nets starting center Nic Claxton and has expressed interest in acquiring him in trade discussions with Brooklyn, league sources told HoopsHype. At last year’s trade deadline, the Raptors offered a first-round pick in an attempt to acquire Claxton and have since kept an eye on the rising center. Nets forward Ben Simmons and several first-round draft picks have also been discussed in trade conversations with the Raptors, league sources told HoopsHype. The Nets have also separately expressed interest in OG Anunoby.”

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