The Atlanta Hawks are moving forward John Collins to the Utah Jazz in a trade that gives the team a huge increase in financial freedom, sources informed ESPN on Monday.
According to reports, the Hawks will exchange Collins, who is due $78 million over the next three seasons, for forward Rudy Gay and a future second-round choice. The Hawks now have the biggest trade exception in the NBA, at $25.3 million, thanks to the move. Atlanta may utilise the exemption to assume a player’s contract during the next year.
The transaction cannot be finalised until July 6.
The Jazz now have a versatile forward to play with All-Star Lauri Markkanen and All-Rookie centre Walker Kessler after acquiring Collins, 25. Additionally, Utah selected power forward Taylor Hendricks from Central Florida with the ninth overall choice in the NBA Draught on Thursday. Under Will Hardy’s first season as coach, the Jazz’s offence was a revelation, and Collins’ addition might aid Utah’s return to the Western Conference playoffs the following year.
The Hawks and Jazz have discussed the deal in various forms for more than a year, but due to the impending changes in the league’s new collective bargaining agreement, it has proven challenging to move Collins’ remaining contract in exchange for assets, much like how the Golden State Warriors recently unloaded Jordan Poole and the more than $130 million owed to him.
For Atlanta, the addition of Gay — who, according to his agent Sam Permut of Roc Nation Sports, exercised his $6.4 million player option for next season as part of the trade — allows the Hawks to fall significantly below the $182.5 million second apron and the $165 million luxury tax threshold for the 2023–24 season.
Nevertheless, insiders say that the Hawks will continue to pursue deals this offseason, and ownership has granted general manager Landry Fields permission to enter the luxury tax if that is what is required to strengthen the squad.
Atlanta now has a better chance to negotiate potential contract extensions for its three young key players, Dejounte Murray, Onyeka Okongwu, and Saddiq Bey, thanks to Collins’ departure.
Collins’ departure will also provide forward Jalen Johnson the chance to play a bigger part in his third season.
The Hawks have ensured that they would not be subject to the punitive team-building requirements that might have severely restricted the franchise’s roster flexibility by positioning themselves below the NBA’s new second-apron tax threshold before 2024.
Collins, the Hawks’ first-round choice in 2017 who developed into one of the finest forwards in the Eastern Conference, is a success story. In six seasons with the Hawks, he averaged 15.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, including 13.1 points and 6.5 rebounds in 2022-23.
Collins is one of only five players who have averaged 15 points on at least 55% shooting among those who have played in each of the previous six seasons, according to statistics from ESPN Stats & Information. The other four are Domantas Sabonis, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jonas Valanciunas, and.