John Collins, Hawks unable to reach agreement for extension

The Hawks and John Collins were not able to reach an agreement for a rookie extension before Monday’s deadline, so now there are a couple of scenarios the two sides are facing heading into the 2020-21 season.

Collins will likely become a restricted free agent after this season, provided he remains with the team through the season and is not traded. The two sides could still reach an agreement at that time, though other teams will be able to extend offers to Collins as well, and the Hawks will have the option to match or decline those offers. The Athletic first reported the news that was later confirmed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

According to a person familiar with the situation, the Hawks felt like they made a competitive offer to Collins, and will still be interested in keeping Collins, come restricted free agency. In the past, Collins has said he feels he should be in the conversation for a max deal.

Earlier Monday, Collins was asked how he’d feel if the deadline came and went and no agreement was reached. Collins has repeatedly voiced his desire to get a deal done before the season and avoid a “contract year,” though that’s what he’s faced with now. His answer centered around focusing on the season ahead.

“I definitely would be a little disappointed, but business is business, sometimes you don’t get exactly what you want, or things don’t happen the way you planned,” Collins said Monday afternoon, before the news broke that no agreement could be reached. “But I was planning on playing all of these games, these 72 games, that are coming up this year anyway, so that’s just going to be the plan is to just lock in on those and make sure as the season’s over, I have the best ability to do whatever, in that case.”

Collins still has one year left on his contract with the Hawks, of course. Last season, he averaged 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds - one of five players in the league to average 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Moving forward, the biggest question for Collins will be how much he can improve defensively, and how he will produce on a more talented roster and a frontcourt that now includes Danilo Gallinari, Clint Capela and rookie Onyeka Okongwu. The Hawks will be able to see how it all fits together, and then decide what to do come next offseason.

However, there is one potential downside. If Collins stays on the roster throughout the season and the Hawks do want to keep him in free agency, they face the possibility of another team swooping in and extending an offer to Collins that is difficult or impossible for the Hawks to match, given what they’ll already have on the books.

When it comes to feeling wanted by the Hawks, Collins said this earlier Monday: “Of course, I feel like from the top to bottom, the guys have shown me they want me, the coaching staff, but obviously there’s one more step.”

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