Tuesday morning when speaking live on 92.9 The Game, Atlanta Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk offered insight on a variety of topics surrounding the franchise this offseason. Perhaps most notably, Schlenk did shed a bit of light on how the Hawks will approach the John Collins situation next month when free agency opens.
“We’re going to sit down with John and his agent when we’re allowed to in August,” said Schlenk on 92.9. “We’ll start a dialogue. If we can come to a deal that we think is fair for both sides, for John and for the team, we’d love to hammer that out.”
The Hawks and Collins can begin working on a deal as soon as Aug. 2, when free agency opens.
“We won’t sit back and make him go get an offer,” Schlenk continued. “We’ll start negotiating when we’re able to, but as a restricted free agent he has the right to listen to our offer and then go around to talk to other teams as well.”
Collins heads into restricted free agency off of an impressive playoff run where he shot 81% at the rim and provided sound play on both ends of the floor for a Hawks team that came just two wins away from the NBA Finals for the first time in the history of the franchise since moving to Atlanta. His presence on both ends of the floor was immense, even when the stat line did not reflect that. He drew tough assignments throughout, whether it was Julius Randle in the first round, Tobias Harris (and Joel Embiid on a few occasions) in the second round, then obviously both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Over his last two seasons as a Hawk, Collins has averaged 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game to go along with 1.2 blocks per. He has shot 62.7% on twos during that stretch and 40% from three-point range. Collins, who was faced with a new task offensively this season with the addition of Clint Capela as a primary roll man, has continued to evolve every season since being drafted by Atlanta with the No. 19 overall pick back in 2017. He’s easily one of the better players from his draft class, and should be set for a very nice pay day.
Collins, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, turned down an offer “in excess of $90 million” last offseason, betting on himself ahead of his impending restricted free agency in 2021. The time has come for that free agency, and next month, we are finally going to see a long awaited resolution to the situation.