NBA Rumors: Thunder could make a run at Lillard, Embiid to play more, Collins throws shade

In today's NBA rumors — Lillard to the Thunder, Sixers aim for Embiid to play more, and John Collins' poetic, passive aggression on Instagram.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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NBA rumors: John Collins throws shade

After six seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, John Collins was traded to the Utah Jazz this summer. During his NBA career, Collins averaged 13.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 blocks per game. However, compared to the 2019-20 season, when Collins averaged a career-best 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds, his stats have declined.

Collins' latest Instagram post is the first time he's commented on his departure from Atlanta. However, he doesn't just thank the Hawks organization. In fact, he took some shots, Collins wrote, "it is this hawks time to fly away from the nest. As my growth is being stunted."

Clearly, there are a lot of emotions there, which is understandable, considering Collins spent his entire career in Atlanta. However, a change of scenery is best for Collins' career. CBS's Brad Botkin weighed in on Collins' time in Atlanta, claiming, "Collins has lived in trade rumors over the past few years, but the Hawks' previous front office, led by Travis Schlenk, never pulled the trigger as it waited on a more attractive deal that never came." In return for Collins, the Hawks get cap relief and a cushy $25M trade exception, which is helpful to have during what Botkin calls "increasingly belt-tightening times."

The 1-2 punch of Trae Young and John Collins led Atlanta to the playoffs the past three seasons and even all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021. We've seen what the Jazz can do with Lauri Markannen's All-Star transformation. Now, Collins has a similar opportunity to re-establish himself in the league.

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