Monte McNair, you’re on the clock.
After sitting out most of free agency, the Kings’ general manager is set to have an extremely busy week leading up to the NBA trade deadline Thursday.
The rumor mill has been churning for the better part of a month, most reports pegging the Kings as sellers on March 25. But what if they flip the script?
According to Kevin O’Connor from The Ringer, the Kings are part of a group of teams showing interest in Atlanta Hawks power forward John Collins.
“League sources say Atlanta is receiving significant trade interest for John Collins from the Celtics, Kings, Mavericks, Pistons, and Timberwolves,” O’Connor wrote Sunday. “The Hawks want one young player and a first-round draft pick to make a deal, or a package of similar value such as multiple first-round picks.”
According to O’Connor, the Timberwolves turned down an offer of Collins for Malik Beasley and future first round pick.
Could the Kings put a package of similar assets together?
Collins checks all of the boxes for the Kings. At 23 years old, the high flyer is averaging 18.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game for the Hawks this season. He’s shooting 53.8 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from long range.
On the downside, Collins wants a mega deal this summer as a restricted free agent, and the Hawks already have major money wrapped up in other players, with Trae Young’s extension on the horizon.
Collins reportedly turned down a $90 million offer from Atlanta already and he wants a deal north of $100 million.
Sacramento can offer a future first-round selection, although it’s unlikely the Kings would hand over a lottery pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. They also have a few veterans who could Hawks in their current pursuit of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. While Collins fits the Kings’ player arc and would look really good running alongside De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, this would be a tough pull for the Kings.
Unless the Hawks are interested in pairing Young with fellow Oklahoma Sooner Buddy Hield or would consider taking on an injured Marvin Bagley, the Kings would struggle to come up with a real workable package for the Hawks.
Sacramento would also need to clear a lot of money moving forward to make Collins work long term. Fox’s extension kicks in next season, and the Kings already have big money tied up in Hield and Harrison Barnes.
Adding to the complexity of this rumor is the fact that Atlanta has won eight straight games, and the Hawks entered Sunday in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. There was a moment when Collins and Young weren’t getting along and a change might have been in order, but Nate McMillan appears to have righted the ship in Atlanta.
This is the type of deal the Kings should be searching for over the coming days, but landing Collins will be a very tall task.