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During the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Atlanta Hawks shocked the basketball world when they upset the New York Knicks in just five games before taking the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers to a Game 7 and ending their season prematurely.

Although Atlanta’s playoff run ended in the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals, it seemed their future was quite bright as the young team flashed brilliance in last year’s postseason.

However, they couldn’t match that success in 2022. After finishing the 2021-2022 regular season with a 43-39 record, the Hawks had to enter the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament to win a spot in the playoffs. Atlanta got the job done and notched the eighth seed.

With a first-round series against the No. 1 ranked Miami Heat, the Hawks needed another big upset in them to get to the second round for the second season in a row. Unfortunately for them, the stars weren’t aligned, and the Heat put the Hawks away in five games.

Now, the Hawks face some major question marks going into the 2022-2023 season. As they prioritize making the roster much better, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report indicated on Tuesday that Atlanta is open for business on the trade market, and it seems anybody not named Trae Young is available.

“Behind the scenes, league insiders consistently mention Atlanta as a team willing to make wholesale changes,” writes Fischer. “Rival executives view all Hawks players aside from Trae Young as eligible for trade. 

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Could the Sixers Call for John Collins?

John Collins was a name linked to the Sixers throughout the 2021-2022 NBA season. As the 76ers navigated through the Ben Simmons saga, they made it clear they wouldn’t move the three-time All-Star unless it were for an All-Star caliber player.

The Sixers and the Hawks reportedly had talks about sending Simmons to Atlanta for a package headlined by Collins. However, when the Sixers implied Atlanta would need to take on Tobias Harris’ contract, too, all talks of a deal fell through.

Considering reports indicated that Collins was frustrated throughout the 2021-2022 season, there is a real chance the young veteran could be moved to a new franchise before the start of next season. Perhaps, Atlanta would have a change of heart about Harris and might consider replacing Collins with a veteran sharpshooter and a stellar leader.

Right now, there isn’t any traction on a possible negotiation between Atlanta and Philly. But as long as Collins is available, he could be a prospect the Sixers would have their eyes on as they continue to star hunt ahead of next season. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.


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