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Shams: Nets interested in John Collins

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Brooklyn Nets v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

With the unofficial opening of trade season Thursday, the rumors have begun to fly and Shams Charania reports that the Nets have interest in John Collins, the Hawks 6’10” big man. But The Athletic writer notes that so far, Atlanta doesn’t have interest in what Brooklyn is offering, a deal centered on Joe Harris.

Here’s what The Athletic writer reported Monday on interest in Collins:

The Hawks have had several teams in the Collins market, such as Utah, Washington, Brooklyn and Dallas, sources said. Atlanta has not shown interest so far in a potential framework that would contain Brooklyn’s Joe Harris, those sources said. Phoenix has a desire for Collins but does not appear inclined to take on the forward, who is in the second season of a five-year, $125 million pact.

Shams report follows a similar report from Ian Begley of SNY who last week wrote that the Nets had “touched base” with the Hawks on Collins.

Collins, 25, was looked upon as a foundation stone for the Hawks when that contract was signed two years ago, but his numbers have fallen off dramatically. In 2019-20, Collins averaged 21.6 points on 58/40/80 shooting splits and 10.1 rebounds to 12.3 points on 48/22/85 and 7.5 rebounds so far this season. Part of the reason for the drop-off was a change in strategy by the Hawks who acquired Dejounte Murray in the off-season and shifted their scoring to him, Trae Young and DeAndre Hunter. As one Hawks writer suggested, that change has reduces Collins’ role to that of a “bit player.”

The Wake Forest product has also been troubled by injuries, losing 29 games last year to right foot and right hand injuries. He’s missed the Hawks last five games this year with a right ankle sprain.

Collins signed his five-year, $125 million contract with the Hawks in July 2022, all of it guaranteed. He is owed $23.5 million this season, $25.3 million in 2023-24, $26.6 million in 2024-25 and has a player option for the same amount in 2025-26. The Nets have Kevin Durant under contract through that same season, Ben Simmons through 2024-25 and could extend Kyrie Irving although seems less likely than it did at the beginning of the season.

Harris, on the other hand, is making $18.6 million this season and $19.9 million in 2023-24, permitting a one-for-one deal under CBA rules. He is the longest tenured Net, having been signed as a free agent in 2016. Although he had a slow start this season coming off two ankle surgeries, Harris has been on fire recently, shooting better than 60% over the last five games. He would add yet another shooter to the Hawks already wing-heavy roster that includes 6’6” rookie A.J. Griffin.

Thursday is when around a third of all NBA players become eligible to be traded, making trade, particularly complicated ones, easier to get done.