DALLAS - We have explained the Dallas Mavericks' in-house debate regarding John Collins, a fine young player who they like ... but who might be attainable this summer as a restricted free agent, without having to trade for him.
Which option might Dallas chase? Collins now ... or Collins then?
It appears the Mavs are opting for the former, as Yahoo Sports notes that with Thursday's NBA trade deadline approaching, Dallas has presented the Atlanta Hawks with a package that features shooting big man Maxi Kleber.
The Hawks, however, per the report, "haven’t been overly thrilled with the offerings.''
We have reported frequently on Dallas' affection for the 23-year-old Collins, who is averaging 18 points and almost eight rebounds per game for the Hawks this season while shooting 38-percent from three. We've detailed how the 6-9 forward might match nicely alongside Kristaps Porzingis ...
“I think Collins is a great fit with Porzingis, in theory,” said Hawks analyst Brad Rowland on our Mavs Step Back Podcast. “Porzingis is more of a pick-and-pop guy, not a post-up big. Collins is a great pick-and-roll threat, lob-catcher, finisher, and they would compliment each other defensively as well.
"I think if you drew up a center to pair with Collins, it might not be exactly Porzingis, but it would be close. That pick-and-pop guy who can help spread the floor.”
And of course everybody matches nicely with MVP candidate Luka Doncic.
Against the Mavs specifically for his career, Collins averages 23.8 points (highest among all other teams he’s played against) and 11 rebounds, shooting 62 percent from the field and 58 percent from deep. Swapping a piece like Kleber (or Jalen Brunson, or Dwight Powell) can make sense. It's worth noting that Dorian Finney-Smith is the subject of inquiries directed at Dallas as well.
Yahoo writes that Collins "has been a central figure to the miraculous turnaround the Hawks are experiencing and tinkering with the chemistry at this juncture is risky. Team ownership wants wins, and that’s what’s taking place.''
At the same time, the Hawks have dealt with a bit of reported "drama'' between Collins and star Trae Young. Additionally, the Hawks forked out a combined $133 million to Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari in the offseason, plus Young’s inevitable max rookie extension is right around the corner ... so it might make for a tight fit in Atlanta.
Atlanta, though, is indeed on a hot streak. But to open this year, Collins turned down their $90 million an extension, which may serve as a hint as to how he views his future. ... and maybe helps the Mavs try to envision Collins in their future.