Kings-Hawks trade talks over Harrison Barnes, John Collins

Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) defends against Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, March 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Hector Amezcua)

Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) defends against Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, March 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Hector Amezcua)

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The Kings were at the center of multiple trade rumors on the eve of Thursday’s NBA draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Much of the speculation has focused on what Sacramento will do with the No. 4 pick in the draft with numerous teams trying to trade up for Purdue guard Jaden Ivey, but the Kings are involved in other discussions as well.

Earlier this week, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Kings general manager Monte McNair had engaged the Atlanta Hawks in talks over John Collins. Sacramento has reportedly not included the No. 4 pick in those discussions, but there is potential for a deal involving Kings forward Harrison Barnes.

Veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein added fuel to the fire Wednesday, reporting that Sacramento could be one of Atlanta’s “prime options” in trade talks for Collins.

“The Hawks are weighing a variety of scenarios as they pursue a John Collins trade in connection with Thursday’s draft, with a deal headlined by Collins and Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes among Atlanta’s prime options,” Stein reported.

The Hawks are reportedly discussing other deals as well. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported the Hawks have also discussed a deal that would send Collins to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Dejounte Murray. The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner confirmed the teams have spoken, but he tweeted: “I’m told it’s not close to happening yet.”

Collins, 24, is a 6-foot-9, 226-pound power forward who came out of Wake Forest with the No. 19 pick in the 2017 draft. He was an NBA All-Rookie Second Team selection in 2018. Over five NBA seasons, Collins has averaged 16.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 blocks while shooting 55.9% from the field and 37.6% from 3-point range. He had his best season in 2019-20, posting averages of 21.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while shooting 40.1% from beyond the arc.

Collins is entering the second year of a five-year, $125 million contract with a player option in the final season. His 3-point shooting would help the Kings spread the floor for De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. He is a capable defender who communicates well and offers adequate rim protection, something Sacramento desperately needs. Collins also fits the Kings’ timeline with 24-year-old point guard De’Aaron Fox and 26-year-old center Domantas Sabonis.

The Kings can construct a package featuring Barnes, who is owed $18.4 million in the final year of a four-year, $85 million contract. Barnes, 30, averaged 16.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 39.4% from 3-point range last season. He would help the Hawks fill the void left by Collins while offering nearly $84 million in salary relief over the next four years.

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Jason Anderson is an award-winning sportswriter for The Sacramento Bee. He started his journalism career at The Bee more than 20 years ago and returned to cover the Sacramento Kings in September 2018.

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