According to a recently proposed trade idea, the Los Angeles Lakers could add another star player to start alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis by acquiring John Collins from the Atlanta Hawks.
On Saturday, NBA Analysis Network explained that while the proposed deal might seem unlikely due to how the Hawks are in striking distance of the top eight of the Eastern Conference, the team may be "taking calls" and looking to move some of their key players. While the organization was able to acquire some notable free agents — including Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Rajon Rondo — in free agency, it was not able to get Collins to sign a lucrative contract extension.
In the hypothetical trade, the Lakers would be acquiring Collins and backup point guard Kris Dunn from Atlanta for 2019-20 Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell, second-year wingman Talen Horton-Tucker, a 2023 second-round pick, and a 2026 first-rounder. The transaction, as noted, could give Los Angeles a player who could be especially helpful during the postseason, as well as someone who could improve over time through the "guidance" of James and Davis.
"John Collins is just 23 years old and is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. A frontcourt of Collins and Anthony Davis is something that should have fans salivating. The front office of the Lakers has made it clear that they are not afraid to make the big move and another could be on the horizon."
According to his Basketball-Reference player page, Collins' statistics have taken a bit of a dip in the 2020-21 campaign, as he is currently averaging 18.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and one block per game and shooting 54.9 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from three-point range. Last year, he posted averages of 21.6 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks while converting on 58.3 percent of his field-goal attempts.
Aside from the speculation that he might not be part of Atlanta's long-term plans, there were rumors last month alleging that he and teammate Trae Young had an altercation during a film session. These reports, however, were later downplayed by the All-Star point guard.
Talking about how the Hawks could benefit from the recommended trade, NBA Analysis Network wrote that Harrell could immediately replace Collins' contributions in the paint, though as he is on the first year of a two-year contract, he will likely be a short-term option for the club. Meanwhile, Horton-Tucker could be an "intriguing" pickup, given his age (20) and his potential to thrive if given a bigger opportunity with another team.