The Dallas Mavericks should have a pretty high opinion of Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins, whether that opinion is put on display this summer, or before the NBA trade deadline (if he becomes available). ... with that latter factor the only reason, in our opinion, to tap the brakes.
We have reported frequently on Dallas' affection for the 23-year-old upcoming restricted free agent, who is averaging 18 points and almost eight rebounds per game for the Hawks this season while shooting 38-percent from three.
Against the Mavs specifically, though, 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.
Based on Collins’ career production overall vs. what he’s done to Dallas specifically, we could technically label him as a “vs. Mavs” All-Star.
The difference here, though, is that Collins has the potential to produce those high-end numbers on a nightly basis if put in the perfect situation, and that situation could be with Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and the Mavs.
The reporting from The Ringer that has Dallas expressing "significant trade interest'' along with "the Celtics, Kings, Pistons and Timberwolves'' jibes with our reporting - and our analysis.
“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.”
Before this season started, the Hawks offered Collins a $90 million extension, but the 6-9 Collins declined the offer because he wanted a max rookie extension, or at least something a lot closer to that number.
Rowland also told us a few weeks that Atlanta might have to at least look into potentially trading Collins before the March 27 trade deadline. ... and here we are.
The two problems with Dallas trading for Collins, though ...
1) The Ringer reports that Atlanta "wants a young player and a first-round pick.'' That is problematic for Dallas.
2) The team that trades for Collins will be one that is prepared to pay him what he wants this summer. (Dallas will have cap space to do so.) And if a team feels like it has a decent shot to steal him in restricted free agency, that lessens the need to give up much in a trade package right now.
Unless ... a team thinks getting Collins in-house four months ahead of the summer is going to translate to important wins - now and in the NBA Playoffs. And yes, the Mavs could use important wins now and in the playoffs.