Is John Collins finally ready for a divorce from the Atlanta Hawks? The rumors were first floated out there back on Jan. 8 when the star forward seemed to question the offense running through Trae Young.
Fast forward a month and the trade winds are blowing once again. Maybe harder and more in a tropical direction. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, the Hawks have “shown a willingness to listen to offers” for Collins. The senior NBA reporter quickly added that it would have to be a deal loaded with future assets and he finds it “unlikely” for Atlanta to actually move him.
But that didn’t stop Miami Heat fans from sounding the trade alarm on social media. There are so many dots connecting Collins to South Beach, including his own posh avenue near the Atlantic Ocean. Imagine the possibilities there.
The 23-year-old power forward calls the Florida area home having attended Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach (about 80 minutes to Miami), a fact that Young brought up to Collins during a 2018 interview between the two Hawks teammates. Here’s that fun exchange:
Collins: Other team where I secretly want to play for, if I got traded from Atlanta?
Young: Well, one that’s not going to happen because you’re not getting traded from Atlanta. But if you did want to play for another team …
Collins: Hypothetically …
Young: Ooh, the Heat.
Young: Because it’s close to home. Miami’s a great city. Great place.
Collins: Warm weather, you know what I’m saying.
Young: You’re single, right?
Young: The women are beautiful.
Collins: I get to see mama, I get to see grandmama — you know, the beach, good weather.
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Does Collins Make Sense in Heat Lineup?
Yes, there would be questions about Collins being the best fit for Miami’s offense. All-Star center Bam Adebayo has been making great strides as an elite center and throwing another 6-foot-9 big man into the mix could stall his development. Worse yet, it could ruin the Heat’s growing chemistry.
But Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is a master magician when it comes to tailoring the rotation to the strengths of his players. He could look back in fairly recent NBA history to see how well two dominating bigs worked for the San Antonio Spurs with David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Collins would have to be willing to accept not being the primary option every time down the court — not a given since it has caused some slight unrest in Atlanta — but it could work.
Hawks Star Looking for Max Contract
There is one more issue to consider: Collins wants a max contract in the neighborhood of at least $100 million. The Wake Forest product already turned down a $90 million deal from Atlanta, per multiple reports.
The Heat have the salary-cap space to accommodate Collins right now but things could change overnight depending on next year’s revenue-sharing hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not having fans in arenas hurt financials across the league.
The bigger issue for the Heat is their compensation to offer in a trade. They are devoid of first-round and second-round picks essentially until 2023. That means Miami’s younger guys — (not all) Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Kelly Olynyk, Precious Achiuwa — would have to be appealing enough to entice Atlanta into making a deal.
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