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Report: John Collins increasingly frustrated with role on Hawks

John Collins and Ben Simmons in Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 30: John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks passes the ball against Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers on April 30, 2021 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Hawks have emerged as a team to watch for Ben Simmons.

What would Atlanta trade to the 76ers for Simmons?

John Collins might be a logical starting point.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Collins, however, has grown increasingly frustrated over his role in Atlanta, multiple sources have told The Athletic.

Collins clashed with Trae Young about the Hawks’ offense before. But they got over it to lead Atlanta on an exhilarating run to the Eastern Conference finals. Collins even got a five-year, $125 million contract last summer.

But the Hawks are just 17-22 this season. Losing exacerbates most problems. Young is dominating the ball even more (including to pass, with Collins a frequent target). That’s apparently not enough flow for Collins.

Nobody considers Collins a star, let alone the caliber of star Philadelphia reportedly demands for Simmons. But Atlanta has plenty of other assets – including Cam Reddish, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanovic and all its first-round picks – plus a willingness to trade. It’s possible to see a deal, especially if the Hawks are motivated.

Collins’ improved defense (which really shined in the playoffs last season) and 3-point shooting make him a reasonable fit at power forward next to Joel Embiid. However, barring other additions, Philadelphia would be short on passing sans Simmons. (Ironically, Collins particularly benefits from someone to set him up on his rim runs, a role Young handles well in Atlanta.)

More fit questions would emerge with the Hawks. With Young already starring at point guard and if Collins were outgoing, Atlanta would seemingly view Simmons as a power forward. But Simmons and center Clint Capela are both non-shooters and would cramp spacing. Capela wouldn’t make sense with the 76ers, who already have Embiid.

So, perhaps Collins’ discontent leads him somewhere other than Philadelphia (maybe even again to a better place with the Hawks once grievances are addressed).

But with Simmons-Atlanta rumors already swirling, it’s easy fold in a report of Collins’ unhappiness and speculate about him going to Philadelphia.