Hawks extend qualifying offer to John Collins, make him restricted free agent, per report

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The Atlanta Hawks have taken the first step in trying to re-sign forward John Collins as they’ve reportedly extended a qualifying offer, officially making him a restricted free agent later this summer, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The qualifying offer is around $7.7 million, and is merely a formality as the Hawks and Collins try to come close to a bigger number for a new contract.

Collins turned down a reported $90 million from the Hawks before this season to bet on himself and secure more money. After a playoff performance where he posted 14 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting 35.7 percent from deep per game, he’s boosted his value and could get a contract worth more than what the Hawks offered him prior to this season.

But it won’t be easy for Atlanta, there are several teams who will try and pry the athletic big man away from the Hawks, as the Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves are all reportedly interested in signing him this summer. The benefit for Atlanta, though, is they will have the ability to match any offer Collins gets from other teams, but if the price gets too high it could force the Hawks to make some tough decisions.

During the Hawks’ end-of-season press conference following their loss in the Eastern Conference finals to the Bucks, team owner Tony Ressler said that while he hopes Collins returns next season, it’s a “pretty good bet” that Atlanta won’t be able to return all the players it wants to for next year. Collins may or may not be one of those players, depending on how much he commands in restricted free agency, but if the Hawks are committed to building around All-Star Trae Young and Collins, then the price won’t matter.

Collins is an ideal pick-and-roll threat to have with an elite guard like Young, or potentially Luka Doncic if the Mavericks try to bring him to Dallas. He’s also shown the ability to knock down 3s at an incredibly high clip throughout his four-year career. This was the second consecutive season he shot 40 percent or more from deep on over three attempts per game. 

Although his points and rebounds dipped this season, that has more to do with the influx of talent the Hawks acquired in the offseason last year, which took away some touches from Collins. He’s shown the ability to be a 20 and 10 guy, and it’s clear the Hawks want to keep him around. Now they’ll have to hope they can afford him when free agency starts on Aug. 2.

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