Atlanta Hawks Trade John Collins To Utah Jazz For Rudy Gay And Future Pick: Reports

Photo: Instagram/John Collins

Multiple reports indicate that the Atlanta Hawks have made a trade, sending forward/center John Collins to the Utah Jazz in exchange for swingman Rudy Gay and a future second-round pick. The deal is expected to be finalized no earlier than July 6.

This move marks another active offseason for the Utah Jazz, who made significant trades in the previous summer as well. Last season, the Jazz made headlines by trading All-Star center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves and guard Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In return, they acquired Lauri Markkanen from the Cavs, who blossomed into an All-Star player in the following season. John Collins, entering his seventh NBA season, had a solid performance with the Hawks, averaging 13.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.0 blocks per game in 30 minutes of playtime.

Photo: Instagram/John Collins

However, his numbers have declined since his career-best season in 2019-20 when he achieved averages of 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. In Utah, Collins will join a formidable frontcourt that already includes the talented Markkanen, second-year center Walker Kessler, and rookie Taylor Hendricks, who was selected as the ninth overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Markkanen, recognized as the Kia Most Improved Player, and Kessler, an All-Rookie first team selection, both had impressive performances last season. Despite the initial doubts surrounding the Jazz after the trades involving Gobert and Mitchell, the team proved to be competitive, starting the season strong with a 10-3 record and maintaining a decent standing until the All-Star break.

However, midseason trades and injuries impacted their performance, leading to their playoff hopes being dashed by early April. John Collins signed a five-year, $125 million contract in 2021, and the trade with the Jazz still leaves him with two seasons remaining on his deal, along with a player option in 2025-26.

The trade also results in a massive $25.3 million trade exception, which is currently the largest in the NBA, giving the Atlanta Hawks potential flexibility in the future. This trade opens up opportunities for players like 
Onyeka OkongwuAJ Griffin, and Jalen Johnson to step up in the Hawks' frontcourt.

Additionally, the Hawks can now explore contract extensions for 
Dejounte Murray, Onyeka Okongwu, and Saddiq Bey with the newfound flexibility. Rudy Gay, a 17-year NBA veteran, spent the last two seasons with the Jazz, primarily coming off the bench.

He had a relatively underwhelming performance last season, recording career-low averages of 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in limited playing time. Gay exercised his player option for the upcoming season to facilitate the trade.

Despite the Hawks' improved attendance and sellout games at State Farm Arena, the team failed to make significant progress under coach Quin Snyder. Their regular season ended at a disappointing 41-41 record, and they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

Hawks star Trae Young expressed his desire for the team to be seen as championship contenders rather than just participants. The focus moving forward will be on building a team that can compete at the highest level and provide fans with an exciting and successful basketball experience.

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Source: NBA

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