“The Jazz’s interest in Hawks forward John Collins is real, league sources said, and would seem to indicate Utah is considering how to add to this winning unit rather than subtract from it,” Yahoo! Sports’ Jake Fischer wrote. “Right now, the likelihood of Collins landing in Salt Lake City, though, seems low. Atlanta approached the Jazz about swapping Collins for Markkanen, sources said, which did not generate any traction.”
Markkanen, who was acquired in the trade that sent Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason, is having a terrific season for Utah.
The former first-round pick is averaging 22.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while shooting 53.9 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from beyond the arc. The Jazz are 12-7 on the season because of it and are one of the best teams in the Western Conference at this point in the 2022-23 campaign.
It’s interesting that the Hawks are willing to move on from Collins, who signed a long-term deal with the team following the 2020-21 season, and it seems that they view Markkanen as an upgrade at the forward spot.
Markkanen is a much better shooter than Collins, and he could complement Trae Young and Dejounte Murray very nicely on offense.
Collins isn’t having a bad season for Atlanta, but he’s attempting just 9.6 shots per game, his lowest since his rookie season. The 25-year-old is averaging 12.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game for Atlanta while shooting 49.7 percent from the field.
Even though the Jazz were expected to tank this season after trading away Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic in the offseason, they have been competitive enough where adding to the roster could make sense.
Pairing Collins and Markkanen in Utah, which appears to be Utah’s preference, would give the team a dynamic duo at the forward spot. With a ton of draft picks and young players, the Jazz could potentially make a deal, but the Hawks may not want assets in return for Collins.
Atlanta is looking to make a push to the top of the Eastern Conference after trading for Murray, so the team would likely want a player that can help it right now in a Collins trade.
“Finding any home for Collins becomes a difficult task when you consider the Hawks have dangled the talented 25-year-old for several transaction cycles,” Fischer wrote. “There was true momentum in a deal with Sacramento during this summer’s draft window, sources said, but the Kings walked away with Kevin Heurter and seem quite happy lighting the beam with this current iteration at Golden 1 Center. The Wizards showed legitime interest in Collins before last year’s trade deadline, sources said, but since have paired Bradley Beal with Kristaps Porzingis, who’s helped root a top-10 defense in Washington.”
The Jazz don’t appear ready to sell off any of their players just yet, and that could make things tough on Atlanta as it continues to find a new home for Collins. Even though Collins has been a solid contributor on the roster over several seasons, Atlanta appears determined to move him at some point during his current contract.