Report: Suns ‘showing desire’ in Hawks’ John Collins, other PFs

Nov 18, 2022, 9:41 AM | Updated: 3:09 pm

John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts after dunking against Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix S...

John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts after dunking against Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half at State Farm Arena on February 03, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

As the Phoenix Suns navigate life with former starting forward Jae Crowder away from the team and replacement Cam Johnson recovering from a meniscus injury, it appears that they remain open to shuffling the deck at the power forward spot this year and beyond.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Friday that the Atlanta Hawks have “opened up preliminary trade discussions” around starting power forward John Collins, adding that Phoenix is “a team showing desire” in him. But Charania adds the Suns “appear uninclined to take on the long-term money” of Collins, who is making $23.5 million this year and under contract through 2025-26.

Showing interest yet not wanting to pay a contract would indicate that there are far from concrete discussions being had with Phoenix.

Collins, who has been named in trade rumors for the past few years, is averaging 12.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks so far this season.

The Suns have also shown interest in Sacramento forward Harrison Barnes, Washington’s Kyle Kuzma and Houston’s K.J. Martin, Charania adds.

All of that is to say the Suns are considering traveling down several avenues at their power forward slot.

The report Friday also indicates that other teams continue to complicate the fluid trade market for Crowder.

Atlanta and the Milwaukee Bucks have reportedly been involved in the talks regarding Crowder before Collins’ availability apparently became more of a possibility.

There were rumblings over the weekend that the Suns appeared closer to finalizing a trade for Crowder, and the forward’s clock emoji post on his Instagram story only added credibility to those reports.

Internally, however, Phoenix has decisions to make and time to make them.

Johnson averaged 13.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 43% three-point shooting over eight games before his knee injury this season.

His surgery that has a recovery timeline of 1-2 months adds to an injury history that will be spotlighted as he enters restricted free agency next summer.

Charania reports the Suns’ final offer before failing to reach an extension with the 2019 first-round pick stood at four years and around $66 million, and with the other four starters being valued — and being paid — well, the team has reason to tread carefully when it comes to paying a starting forward a lot of money for the long-term.

Only adding to that uncertainty is the Suns’ ownership situation, with suspended majority owner Robert Sarver currently seeking buyers for the franchise.

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