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Shams: Suns interested in Hawks’ John Collins

The Suns are engaged in talks on what may be a slow-developing deal to land the talented Atlanta forward.

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NBA: Phoenix Suns at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks are engaged in trade talks centered on Hawks forward John Collins, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Friday.

“The Hawks have opened up preliminary trade discussions around forward John Collins, as interested teams inquire, league sources tell The Athletic,” Charania wrote. “The Suns are a team showing desire in Collins, those sources have added, but they appear uninclined to take on the long-term money of Collins, who is in the second season of a five-year, $125 million contract.”

Mentioned among the potential pieces are Jae Crowder, Cam Johnson, and draft picks. Charania reported that no deal is imminent and negotiations between the Hawks and various teams interested in Collins could take weeks or even months.

Collins is having one of his worst professional seasons, but the 25 year-old has spent the last four years establishing himself as a talented scorer and solid rebounder and his career line of 16.3/8.3/1.5 on a very nice 63% true shooting percentage demonstrate what kind of impact he can have when healthy.

Collins isn’t an especially dynamic shot creator, but he is a very good finisher historically, and is shooting about 40% on corner threes in his career. He’s one of those analytical darlings, attempting very few midrange shots and concentrating his efforts within 10 feet of the rim, or beyond the arc.

The other wrinkle in the potential deal is Suns’ ownership. Embattled owner Robert Sarver is seeking to sell the franchise, and it’s not clear how that may impact what the Suns are able to do at the trade table.

While there’s little doubt most Suns fans would hate to lose Cam Johnson, a fan favorite currently recovering from meniscus surgery, Collins would be a nice prize given his fairly young age and demonstrated skills.

It seems virtually assured that the Suns will have to give up a piece of the “core” to get this deal done, if for no other reason than the Collins is owed $24 million next season. That doesn’t mean Cam would be a trade piece, given his contract situation (he is a restricted free agent this offseason), but it seems unlikely the Suns would committ to him long-term if Collins is on the team.

Is this a deal the Suns should pursue aggressively? Let the discussion begin.

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