Report: Hawks big man John Collins has been connected to Cavs in trade rumors

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The Cleveland Cavaliers have been connected to Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins ahead of this season’s trade deadline, according to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus.

“The buzz out of Atlanta has been inconsistent, perhaps with recent changes in management with Landry Fields replacing Travis Schlenk,” Pincus wrote. “Is he someone the Hawks want to salary-dump, or are they expecting a bounty in return? It depends on who you ask, but clarity should come in the next couple of weeks.

“Collins is one of the most talked-about names on the trade market all season; he’s been connected to various teams, including the Phoenix Suns, Washington Wizards, Utah Jazz, New Orleans Pelicans, Cleveland Cavaliers, [Dallas] Mavericks and [Los Angeles] Clippers.”

Collins signed a five-year, $125 million contract prior to the 2021-22 season, but he has not lived up to his new deal. The former first-round pick is averaging just 13.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 blocks per game this season while shooting 51.1 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from beyond the arc.

It’s unclear how interested the Cavs would be in Collins, especially since they already have a loaded frontcourt that features Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, Kevin Love and Dean Wade. Adding Collins would give the Cavs more depth, but they’d likely have to part ways with rotation players to match his salary in a trade.

Not only that, but Collins is owed over $25 million in each of the next two seasons and has a player option for over $26 million in the 2025-26 season. With the Cavs needing to eventually pay Mobley and likely extend Donovan Mitchell down the line, it may not be in the team’s best interest to have Collins’ deal on the books.

Cleveland has played well with its current roster, holding the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference at this point in the 2022-23 season.

The Hawks, on the other hand, have fallen short of expectations so far in the 2022-23 campaign and are in the No. 8 spot in the conference. The team expected to compete for a top spot in the East after trading for All-Star guard Dejounte Murray in the offseason.

However, the team got off to a slow start and players like Collins haven’t produced as much as the team would have hoped.

While this may be a chance for a team to buy low on Collins since he’s having his worst 3-point shooting season of his career, he doesn’t make a ton of sense for Cleveland unless the team loses a frontcourt player to injury.

As the league’s trade deadline on Feb. 9 approaches, Collins should be a hot name to monitor on the market given the interest from several teams.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.