As the Toronto Raptors know all too well from their battles this season, the Atlanta Hawks are not to be trifled with, as the inside-out combination of John Collins on the interior and Trae Young on the perimeter has the Hawks playing some exciting, up-tempo basketball as they compete for a postseason spot.
However, contrary to what Atlanta would have you believe, there is some trouble in paradise. Collins, who is averaging 18.5 points on 41 percent 3-point shooting and 7.1 rebounds per game one year after averaging a double-double, has voiced his frustrations with playing in an offense that is dominated by Young handling the ball.
After adding Clint Capela and loading up on frontcourt talent in the draft, it’s easy to see why Collins has doubts about his potential future in Hawks colors. Sam Amick’s report that claims the Hawks could be inclined to listen to potential trades only is dumping some extra gasoline to this raging fire.
In need of a center with a higher offensive ceiling than Aron Baynes and the financial flexibility to bring Collins back long-term due to the fact that Kyle Lowry could be on his way out, Masai Ujiri and the Raptors should get on the phone right now and start trying to get Collins down to their temporary home in Tampa.
This trade could help the Toronto Raptors get John Collins
PF John Collins
SF Tony Snell
SG Norman Powell
C Aron Baynes
First Round Pick: 2022, 2024 (Lottery Protected)
Second Round Pick: 2021
Collins’ impending free agency could make getting a deal done more difficult, but Toronto should still try to go after a player of his caliber. Not only will he become an instant starter on this team, but he could potentially put up better numbers than he did in Atlanta if he goes to a team like the Raptors that needs a paint scorer like him.
As is always the case, it might be difficult to get Collins to resign in Toronto given the geographical troubles. However, the potential of forming an ultra-young, ultra-athletic frontcourt of the future alongside Pascal Siakam on a Raptors team that has plenty of money to spend and hasn’t missed the playoffs in years might be too good for Collins to pass up.
Hawks fans might dismay at giving away Collins and getting a player as limited as Baynes in return, but Capela could hold down the frontcourt anyway as Danilo Gallinari slides into Collins’ old spot. Losing Collins could also force extremely promising big and No. 6 overall pick Onyeka Okongwu into an increased offensive role.
A team coached by Lloyd Pierce and led on the court by Young will play fast and shoot plenty of threes, which is a perfect environment for Powell. The former UCLA star, averaging 16.3 points per game in 2020, is putting up 22.6 points per game while shooting 50 percent overall and 44 percent from deep over the last 10 games.
Snell would likely be moved to make the money match up, but he could end up giving the Raptors another versatile defender that could guard multiple positions if he doesn’t get bought out.
While the Hawks might be reluctant to deal Collins in the middle of a playoff run, the Raptors giving them a few premium draft picks and one of the hottest perimeter scorers in the game of late in exchange for a player who could walk for nothing in free agency could be too tempting for Atlanta to pass up.