The Atlanta Hawks made a surprising run to the Eastern Conference finals this year on the strength of Trae Young's phenomenal playoff debut, as well as the depth of Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter, Danilo Gallinari, Lou Williams, Clint Capela and John Collins. While the Hawks couldn't overcome the Bucks, in part due to an injury to Young, it showed a glimpse of what this team can become in the very near future, but it also piqued the interest of other teams around the league in some of Atlanta's players.
Collins, who is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, is expected to receive interest from several teams including the Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves, The Athletic's Shams Charania reports. Collins' performance in the postseason -- 14 points, 8.7 rebounds and 35.7 shooting percent from deep per game -- boosted his value and is likely to net him a max-contract, Charania reports. It's the outcome Collins was hoping for when he declined a reported $90 million from the Hawks before this season to bet on himself and secure more money.
That doesn't mean he and the Hawks can't come to an agreement on a new deal this summer, as team owner Tony Ressler said at the team's end-of-season press conference that he hopes Collins returns next season.
"Our job is to come to a fair agreement with John. That's our objective. There should be no question," Ressler said. "He's a really good player and maybe more importantly, a really good person. So the idea of having both is important to this franchise. That's my view. The idea of being smart for both of us, to come to a reasonable place, that's the objective, and there should be no confusion. I think as Travis said, which I think is amazing, a lot of players that don't agree to a contract going into this season, play in a certain way. John played as an amazing teammate trying to win games and doing whatever he could do to win games. John's a really good guy and a really good teammate. I hope he is an Atlanta Hawk."
But Ressler also said it was a "pretty good bet" that Atlanta won't be able to return all the players it wants to for next season. Whether that includes Collins because the price got too high, or other players who will be free agents, the Hawks are trying to manage expectations for fans who want the organization to run it back.