Atlanta Hawks big man John Collins has been one of the most-mentioned players in trade rumors, but he made it clear that he doesn’t want to be moved.
“I want to stay,” Collins said on March 23. “I want my flowers here in Atlanta. I want to be true to Atlanta for my entire career, as corny or cheesy as it may sound to whoever. As a basketball player, as someone who takes pride in their job, me being drafted in the organization, and me living here, becoming a man and living my life in the NBA as a Hawk, it means something to me.”
Collins continued, “It might not mean a lot to other people, but I want to be here. I want my future to be here. I want to think about my future here, but as I said, the reality of the situation is it’s not always, stuff doesn’t always go the way I want it to, and all I can do to make sure that my future is as good as it can be is to make sure that I’m the best player I can be, and wake up every day and figure it out.”
The 23-year-old turned down a four-year, $90 million contract extension earlier this season, setting him up to be a restricted free agent this offseason.
Despite this, it still sounds like Collins is interested in working out a new long-term deal with the Hawks.
“There has never been a single number,” said Collins. “I never said ‘I need a max,’ or I never said ‘I’m only taking a max,’ all I said was I feel like with my play and what I’ve done I feel like I should be in max contention, or I should be in the caliber, realm of guys, who do what I do on the court, and that’s all I said. There was no, ‘Oh, I need a five-year max,’ this and that, I never said any of that.”
The Hawks aren’t willing to part ways with the fourth-year player for anything less than a combination of young players and draft picks, per Chris Mannix of SI.com.
The Mavericks are reportedly considered one of the five or six teams loosely engaged in talks with the Hawks for Collins, but aren’t near the front of the line, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
After it seemed like Collins would all but certainly be traded, the Hawks now have a 60-40 chance of keeping him, a source told Townsend.