Atlanta Hawks Trade John Collins to Utah Jazz for Rudy Gay and Future Pick

In a highly anticipated move, the Atlanta Hawks have finally traded John Collins, with reports indicating that he will be joining the Utah Jazz in exchange for Rudy Gay and a future second-round pick k, as per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday.
The trade, which is set to become official on July 6, will see Collins in a Jazz jersey and adding depth to their front line alongside All-Star Lauri Markkanen and All-Rookie center Walker Kessler.

For the Hawks, acquiring Rudy Gay and a future second-round pick provides for Collins, who is owed $78 million over the next three seasons, sources said. The swap creates a $25.3 million trade exception for the Hawks, the largest in the NBA. Atlanta has a year to potentially use the exception to take on a player’s contract. This exception grants the Hawks flexibility to potentially take on another player’s contract within the next year.

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The discussions surrounding a potential trade involving Collins and the Jazz have been ongoing for over a year. However,  the complexities of the league’s new collective bargaining agreement presented challenges in finding a suitable return of assets for Collins, similar to the Golden State Warriors’ recent trade involving Jordan Poole and his significant salary obligations.

By acquiring Rudy Gay, the Hawks not only add a seasoned forward to their roster but also gain financial relief. Gay, who exercised his $6.4 million player option for the upcoming season, allows the Hawks to fall below the $182.5 million second apron and the $165 million luxury tax threshold for the 2023-24 season.

Despite this trade, the Hawks are expected to remain active in the offseason, with the team’s ownership giving general manager Landry Fields the green light to enter the luxury tax if necessary to enhance the roster.

Collins’ departure opens up opportunities for other players on the Hawks’ roster. It provides forward Jalen Johnson, entering his third season, with the chance to assume a more prominent role. Additionally, the team can now focus on contract extensions for core players such as Dejounte Murray, Onyeka Okongwu, and Saddiq Bey.

The Hawks’ strategic positioning below the NBA’s new second-apron tax level before 2024 ensures that they avoid the potential negative consequences associated with punitive team-building provisions. This decision safeguards the team’s roster flexibility moving forward.

Collins’ tenure with the Hawks has been a success story. Drafted as the 19th overall pick in 2017, he has blossomed into one of the Eastern Conference’s top forwards. Over his six seasons with the Hawks, Collins has averaged an impressive 15.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. In the 2022-23 season, he recorded 13.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

As Collins embarks on this new chapter of his career with the Utah Jazz, fans eagerly anticipate how his skill set will complement the team’s offensive prowess. With his versatile playstyle and ability to contribute on both ends of the court, Collins has the potential to help propel the Jazz back into the Western Conference playoffs in the upcoming season.

The trade between the Atlanta Hawks and the Utah Jazz marks a significant transaction for both teams, providing them with the opportunity to strengthen their respective rosters. While Collins’ departure from Atlanta may evoke mixed emotions among fans, his impact and contributions to the team will be remembered as he takes on new challenges in Utah.

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