After the dust settled on the 2021 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks did not make any trades and kept swingman Cam Reddish. After drafting Duke’s Jalen Johnson with the 20th pick, selecting Auburn point guard (and McEachern alum) Sharife Cooper in the second round, and pulling off a trade that secured Delon Wright, the Hawks have deepened their talent pool. As free agency begins Sunday, general manager Travis Schlenk is prepared to make an offer to forward John Collins, according to reports.
Initally reported by Bleacher Report, the Hawks are prepared to offer Collins a new four-year deal valued at $120 million. With add-ons, the value of the contract could surpass $120 million in total value.
“The Mavericks, along with the San Antonio Spurs, are known to have registered interest in John Collins, but it appears the Atlanta forward will likely re-sign with the Hawks following their sprint to the Eastern Conference Finals on a deal that could surpass $120 million in total value, sources said.”
The Hawks have lost Onyeka Okongwu for up to six months after he had surgery on his shoulder to repair his torn laburnum. Coupled with drafting Jalen Johnson, undoubtedly each of those actions had an effect on John Collins’s value, as he becomes a restricted free agent. Collins averaged 17.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game shooting over 55% from the floor and almost 40% from three this season.
The Hawks’ core consists of a 23-year-old John Collins, a 23-year-old De’Andre Hunter, a 22-year-old Trae Young who is the face of the franchise, 22-year-old Kevin Huerter, and 21-year-old Cam Reddish.
Meanwhile, Johnson, is a 6’9″ forward, appeared in 13 games last season (eight starts) during his freshman season at Duke, averaging 11.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 21.4 minutes (.523 FG%, .444 3FG%, .632 FT%) before opting out to prepare for the NBA Draft. It isn’t expected he’ll play significant minutes once Okongwu returns, however, he will be relied upon coming off the bench in the first half of the season.
“Jalen is an extremely talented player. He has great size and great ball skills, rebounds and defends,” said Hawks President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Travis Schlenk. “We’re excited to add a player of his talent level to the roster.”
Meanwhile, Sharife Cooper is 6’1″ and appeared in 12 games as a freshman last season at Auburn and averaged 20.2 points, 8.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 33.1 minutes. He scored in double figures in all 12 contests, including a career-best 28 points twice (Jan. 13 at Georgia and Jan. 26 vs. Missouri). He is one of two NCAA Division I freshman in the last 30 years (joining Trae Young) to average 20 points and 8 assists per game.
Cooper will have the room to develop as Young, Wright and Lou Williams are expected handle the majority of the ball-handling duties.