Top Destinations for John Collins as Restricted Free Agent

Power Forward John Collins was a key cog in the Atlanta Hawks' unexpected run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Now, as a restricted free agent, he's due for a big raise from the $4 million he earned this past season. And there are several teams willing to give it to him. 

In fact, Shams Charania reports that Collins' performance in the playoffs “increased his value as a max contract-caliber player.” Let's examine where Collins is likely to end up, should the Hawks decide not to match an expected huge offer sheet. 

1. Dallas Mavericks

We know that Mark Cuban is not shy handing out big contracts, and the Mavs' need for a big man could make this a match. It was at this year's trade deadline that Dallas already showed "significant" interest in acquiring Collins

Though the perception of Kristaps Porzingis has changed a bit since then, at that time, a Hawks observer told a Sports Illustrated podcast, "I think if you drew up a center to pair with Collins, it might not be exactly Porzingis, but it would be close. That pick-and-pop guy who can help spread the floor.”

Collins' career numbers vs. the Mavs exceed his stats against any other team, as he's averaging nearly 24 points per game against Dallas, along with 11 rebounds and an astounding 58% shooting from behind the arc. The Mavs are sold. 

2. Miami Heat

This is another good situation for Collins, where he would be paired on the frontline with Bam Adebayo form a devastating 1-2 punch that could give the Heat a combination of shooting, playmaking and defense. 

The Heat should have about $20 million in cap space (or more if they were to let RFAs Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson go), making a sign-and-trade necessary in order to get this done. 

3. San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs have a desperate need for a big man, and they have the most cap space of any of the teams mentioned, in the vicinity of $50 million. This alone makes them a top candidate to land Collins. The chance to play for coach Gregg Popovich, and to pair with rising stars Dejounte Murray and Derrick White, would be selling factors for Collins. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves are also said to be interested in Collins, but their lack of cap space, and the need to do a sign & trade that would include either D'Angelo Russell or Malik Beasley would make that a difficult match to envision. 

Either way, Collins is going to have a lot of option, and a lot of coin coming his way. 

Photo Credit:  Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports