Hawks’ John Collins: “I definitely feel like I’m in max contract contention”

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins blocks out Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Atlanta. Toronto won 122-117.(AP Photo/John Amis)

Atlanta Hawks young star John Collins is eligible for a contract extension this offseason and he feels like he should be in contention for a max contract.

Collins told The Athletic he believes that he is worth the investment.

“I mean, I feel like I am a priority to the Hawks in terms of my value in the young core,” Collins said. “I feel like that’s no question. Priority in terms of — I don’t know. I definitely feel like I am a priority to them. For a lot of money? I just don’t know personally. I feel like it’s been a unique situation, but I feel like my play has garnered a bigger contract. This is when you want to start comparing, but it’s just a matter of if they’re going to reciprocate the respect back.”

Collins continued, “I definitely feel like I am in max contract contention. If I finish this season averaging 20 and 10, the other guys who are averaging 20 and 10 are max-caliber guys. I’m in that conversation and feel like I am worthy of being extended as such. That’s for the Hawks to decide and figure it out. If you want to look at numbers and flat-out play, I definitely feel like I’ve earned it. But the team situation, future cap and all that, now you have a contract negotiation.”

Chris Kirschner of The Athletic estimates that Collins’ value is between the $77 million extension that the Indiana Pacers gave Domantas Sabonis and the maximum-salary extension that the Toronto Raptors gave Pascal Siakam.

There’s a belief around the league that the Hawks are hesitant to make that kind of commitment to Collins, which is why they received inquiries about him prior to this year’s trade deadline, according to Kirschner.

Collins did mention that he wouldn’t be insulted if the Hawks decide not to offer him a max offer, but his “antennas would be up for sure.”

“I hope they slide me that sheet of paper,” Collins said. “That’s what I’ve been working towards. I’ve been trying to be a face of the franchise. To be that person and to be that face is what I’ve been working towards. That’s what I want. That’s what I’ve been trying to earn and trying to show them that I am worthy of it. I hope my work and what I’m going to try to continue to do is going to be reciprocated, and they can show that they’ve bought into me. And then I’m going to try to go to a whole other level and live up to that contract.”

Collins is currently having a career-best season, averaging 21.6 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, while shooting 41.1 percent from three-point.