Collins, 24, possesses all three and then some. That is why the Hawks aren’t likely to give him away for peanuts.
Could the Bulls put together the requisite assets to pry him loose?
It is possible depending on what other offers they are getting, of course. But whether or not they would want to is the better question. Bulls vice president of basketball operations, Arturas Karnisovas, has been preaching continuity, explains the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley.
Collins’ Fit on the Bulls
The 6-foot-9 Collins was one of seven players to average at least 16 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 36.0% or better from beyond the arc last season, per NBA.com. Despite that, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer said Collins was a player the Hawks are “most interested” in moving during an appearance on the June 8 episode of the “Dunc’d On” podcast.
At his peak, Collins is a 20-point, 10-rebound performer with a penchant for putting his opponent on a poster.
Still, an executive tells Heavy’s Sean Deveney that the Hawks are “considering everything” and that the Bulls have taken notice of Collins. There does appear to be a catch, though, that could ultimately keep a deal from ever coming to fruition.
“The Bulls have had eyes on John Collins but I don’t think they’re willing to give up what it takes to get him.”
Karnisovas mentioned athleticism as something the front office could potentially target this offseason. Collins has that in droves.
Collins is an interesting case. He is the Hawks’ longest-tenured player, drafted just five years ago, with the 19th-overall pick out of Wake Forest. Hawks president Travis Schlenk described Collins as the “heart and soul” of the team on the Jim Rome show in June of 2021.
Could the Bulls Land Collins?
Rumors of Collins being available in a trade have been consistent with the team exploring the possibility of acquiring Ben Simmons before he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets, per The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner.
Schlenk has also wondered if it was “such a great idea” to return most of the 2021 roster.
Yet, rumors have been a constant. Fischer reported on the June 11 episode of “The Athletic NBA Show” podcast Collins’ representatives urged the Hawks to trade the forward amid early contract negotiations.
The interesting part is the Bulls not being willing to give up “what it takes” to land him. Only two players that would seem to both interest the Hawks and be off-limits from the Bulls’ perspective: Zach LaVine and Patrick Williams.
A package centered around Williams — along with guards Coby White and Alex Caruso — fits what the executive is describing better. However, Fischer reported that the Bulls were unwilling to include Williams in any deal for three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert, of the Utah Jazz.
Things to Consider
It makes sense that the Bulls would likewise refuse to add Williams in a deal for Collins despite the latter’s immense talent. Collins does have an All-Rookie selection to his name. But he is far from Gobert in terms of accolades.
Injuries have become a bit of a theme as Collins has failed to appear in 60 games in two of the past three seasons.
In his defense, he has surpassed that mark three times over his first five seasons.
Collins suffered finger and foot injuries that limited him to 54 games during the regular season. He made his return in the postseason. But he was not nearly as effective averaging 9.4 points and 4.6 boards while shooting 48.7% from the floor.
He did, however still hit 36.4% of his threes ranking fourth on the team in the postseason.
There is also the matter of his dissatisfaction with his role in Atlanta, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
It is fair to wonder if a similar situation would occur with the Bulls where he would be no better than the third option. He has been paid like the second option in Atlanta which has not worked to this point.
Bulls Thinking Big
The other apparent theme is the Bulls’ interest in making a significant upgrade. While Karnisovas has pounded the desk for continuity, they continue to be linked to big names via trade.
Fischer reported on the February 2 episode of Locked On’s “NBA Big Board” podcast that the Bulls would include Williams for a player they viewed as “the piece”. If they are, in fact, unwilling to send him for Collins, that is a clear indication they do not view him as that piece despite their interest.