After three strong seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, John Collins — the team’s first-round selection with the 19th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft — believes he has earned a major uptick in salary. The 22-year-old power forward told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week that he should be in the conversation for a maximum money contract.
Collins, who is eligible for a rookie extension before next season, believes that his high level of play has warranted a spot among the top earners in professional basketball. However, he also understands that a litany of factors comes into play where money is concerned.
“When we’re talking max numbers and money, I feel like I definitely [am in] the conversation to have earned that money with the Hawks specifically, but obviously I know there’s business and we don’t always get exactly what we want.”
Collins went on to express his desire to stay with the Hawks, citing a mutual level of investment between he and the organization, as well as a desire to maintain consistency during his professional career.
“I want to be a Hawk, I want to stay with the Hawks. I feel like we’ve both invested ourselves in each other… I feel like we both want to see our investments in each other pay off. In that sense, I just want to know where I am. I want to know I’m locked in as soon as I can.”
The former Wake Forest star’s assertion that he’s worth a max deal isn’t an unfathomable scenario — it’s firmly in-line with his fair market value. Collins has reached rarefied air with his performance as a third-year player on a rebuilding team.
In 41 games played before the league suspended play in mid-March as a result of the novel coronavirus, Collins averaged nearly 22 points and just over 10 rebounds per contest. Meanwhile, he connected on better than 58 percent of his field goal attempts and has expanded his shooting range. While taking nearly four three-point shots per game, Collins has managed to connect at a 40.1 percent clip.
As a result, he currently ranks sixth in the NBA in effective field goal percentage at 63.2; even in today’s space-and-pace NBA where playmaking and floor-stretching power forwards have become the norm, that’s an elite-level mark.
Collins isn’t the only current third-year player who has gone from being a mid-first round pick to potentially looking at a maximum extension this summer. As reported by The Inquisitr, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell will likely sign a max contract extension before next season.