Before the start of last season, Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins turned down a reported $90 million contract extension in an effort to solidify more money as a restricted free agent either from the Hawks or elsewhere. After a season in which he averaged 17.6 points and 7.4 rebounds, it's safe to say he was smart in doing so as he's agreed to a five-year, $125 million deal to remain with the Hawks, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
This deal comes just a couple days after it was reported that Collins and the Hawks were not close on a contract, but it appears after a few days of reflection -- and money drying up elsewhere around the league -- Collins has accepted the Hawks' original offer they gave him at the start of free agency.
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The athletic forward did have interest from other teams around the league leading up to free agency, specifically from the Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, but once free agency started at 6 p.m. ET on Monday the Mavericks and Heat wasted no time in locking up their cap space. That left just the Spurs, who still have around $20 million in cap space, so it left Collins with little leverage to get more money out of the Hawks.
Contractual issues aside, this is a great move for both sides. Despite early season grumbles of a rift between Collins and franchise star Trae Young, the two flourished in their first postseason appearance together by shocking everyone and making it to the Eastern Conference finals. Collins was a key piece in that playoff run, averaging 14 points and 8.7 rebounds, while shooting 55 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from 3-point territory. His high energy brings a spark to the Hawks, and his versatility, being used either in the pick-and-roll for his highlight-level dunks or stepping out to shoot a 3-pointer, is invaluable to Atlanta.
The Hawks have now locked up both Collins and Trae Young, who is reportedly signing a five-year, $207 million contract extension, which ensures the core group of players that got the Hawks to an unexpected conference finals appearance stays intact for the next few years.