In the midst of the Atlanta Hawks selection of Jalen Johnson, a forward out of Duke, with the No. 20 overall pick on Thursday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a bit of news on the broadcast as well. Wojnarowksi said following the selection of Johnson that there’s “optimism” the Hawks and Collins reach a deal when free agency starts next week.
Woj says on the broadcast that there's optimism the Hawks and John Collins will reach a deal at the start of free agency.— Zach Hood (@zhood_) July 30, 2021
Collins’ future has long been in question since he reportedly turned down a four-year, $90 million extension last offseason. There has been much speculation and rumors about what would happen with Collins long-term, including rumors he would be moved at the trade deadline during this past season.
That noise seems to have quieted following the Hawks’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals, as Collins held his own vs. some of the East’s elite big men in Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo during the most competitive time of the season. Atlanta would be challenged to find a better player than Collins to replace him if he were to land elsewhere, so the reports that they’re interested in keeping him come as no surprise.
The Hawks will likely be looking to address depth at backup point guard in free agency in addition to retaining Collins.