Nets still interested in Atlanta’s John Collins; could send Ben Simmons to ATL in trade
The Brooklyn Nets are still curious if they can acquire Atlanta Hawks big man John Collins in a trade, according to Sean Deveney of heavy.com. This news isn’t particularly surprising given that there were reports during the season that Brooklyn was interested in trading for Collins in an effort to improve its depth in the frontcourt.
In Deveney’s piece, he says that an NBA executive spoke to him about Brooklyn’s interest in getting players who can score and what it would take for the Nets to get Collins from the Hawks. The executive pointed out, according to Deveney, that if Brooklyn wants to make any substantial improvements this offseason, they have to find a way to get rid of injured star Ben Simmons.
Simmons had a rough 2022-2023 season as he played in just 42 games due to a variety of injuries related to his back and knees, including a nerve impingement in his back that ended his season prematurely. Collins had a similar determination of his season as Atlanta was reportedly trying to trade Collins throughout this season because of his odd fit for how the Hawks wanted to run their offense combined with the fact that Collins seemed out of place as a floor-spacer for Trae Young and Dejounte Murray.
Deveney notes that both players have similar standing in the NBA, but that Collins is more available compared to Simmons. Both have unattractive contracts as Simmons is owed $78 million over the next two seasons while Collins is owed the same amount of the next three seasons with the third year being a player option. Here’s some of what the league executive said about the situation per Deveney:
“The Nets want some guys who can score, and (Collins) can score. But, the only way they (the Nets) can really do something big, can really get someone who can score in there, is if they can get a taker for Ben Simmons,’ one league executive told Heavy Sports. ‘There aren’t a lot of teams where that would make sense, but Atlanta is one of them, because you need to build a defensive group around Trae Young. Now, if you’re the Nets, you still have to convince Atlanta that Simmons wants to play. Obviously, that is the question around him right now.’
‘The Nets like Collins, they had interest there even before they blew up the team, they’re still curious but, they would have to do more than just Simmons in that kind of deal,’ the executive said. ‘You’d be looking at taking back (Bogdan) Bogdanovic’s deal if you’re Brooklyn and giving up a Royce O’Neale or Dorian Finney-Smith. Maybe too high a price, and maybe that is why they wind up holding onto Simmons in the end. They also have to ask, are you going to play Cam Johnson at the 4 permanently, can you play him with a big guy like Collins? But both teams are kind of in a holding pattern and even though it’s scary to do something big, that’s the kind of thing it will take.'”
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