The Atlanta Hawks are a team to watch at the trade deadline with young star John Collins' name being involved in various rumors.
Collins was a 2017 first-round pick and is eligible for restricted free agency in the summer. ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported in December that Collins turned down an extension worth "in excess of $90 million." Whenever a player turns down an extension like that, questions normally arise over his future with the franchise.
If a contender is looking to make a substantial upgrade with a young player who has made a nice leap in his game the last two years, Collins is a very interesting trade target.
What are the Hawks looking to get in return for Collins? The Athletic's Shams Charania wrote Monday that "Atlanta has so far sought a high first-round, lottery-level pick if it is to move Collins, sources said."
One contender in need of a roster upgrade is the Boston Celtics, and C's president of basketball operations Danny Ainge recently noted his team needs "shooting with size."
Collins is 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot wingspan and plays both forward spots. He's shooting a career-high 41.1 percent from 3-point range. The 23-year-old star also is averaging 18.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and one block per game this season. He would be a tremendous fit on the C's roster and his salary would fit inside the trade exception Boston created in the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade with the Charlotte Hornets last offseason.
The problem for the Celtics is they don't have a lottery-level pick to give the Hawks. Boston does have other intriguing pieces, such as their own current and future first-round picks, as well as several young players who have been drafted in recent years.
Atlanta started out 4-1 but have gone 7-15 since beating the Brooklyn Nets on New Year's Day. The Hawks are still figuring out the right roster to put around franchise point guard Trae Young. If Collins isn't going to be part of that, every contender -- including the Celtics -- should at least inquire about his availability.