NBA Free Agency is just under three weeks away, and the tangled web of rumors, sources, and “reports” is continuing to be woven. Thanks to the number of key players coming off the books and impending cap space, the San Antonio Spurs are more intertwined than usual.
One name that continues to be tied to the Spurs is Hawks forward John Collins. After being mentioned as a “perfect fit” in San Antonio last week, another writer for The Athletic, Shams Charania, has said the Spurs are among teams expected to be interested in the potential restricted free agent.
Across the league, many believe Hawks forward/center John Collins increased his value as a maximum contract-caliber player during Atlanta’s run to the Eastern Conference finals. In 18 postseason games, Collins averaged 13.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 35.7 percent 3-point shooting.
Dallas, Miami, San Antonio, and Minnesota are among the teams expected to show interest in Collins, believing he count be attainable as a restricted free agent, sources said. Hawks owner Tony Ressler said after the season that hoped the team reached a “fair agreement” with Collins. Will the sides find that threshold?
Collins’ regular season numbers were more impressive than his postseason ones, where he averaged 17.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, and shot 39.9% from three during the 2020-21 season. The fact that multiple teams appear to believe Collins has made himself into a max-caliber player means the Spurs will likely have to pay up if the want him in what may end up being a bidding war — assuming he doesn’t reach an agreement with the Hawks before the August 1 deadline. If he reaches restricted free agency, Atlanta will have 48 hours to match any offers that come his way. A max contract for Collins outside of Atlanta would be approximately $125.9 million over four years, or about $31.5 million/year.
Another player the Spurs have been connected to on the trade market is Philadelphia 76ers point-forward Ben Simmons. While that was based on Vegas odds and not any league or team “sources”, Shams is also reporting that the 76ers are now open to trading him, preferably for an All-Star in return. That likely takes the Spurs out of the equation for Simmons (if they were ever interested to begin with) unless they could conduct a sign-and-trade with DeMar DeRozan and/or get more teams involved.
Shams also reports that the New Orleans Pelicans are preparing to let restricted free-agent Lonzo Ball walk if any significant offer comes his way, but he has not been tied to the Spurs in any regard. One player that has been tied to the Spurs numerous times — from as far back as June 10 until as recently as a few days ago — and could possibly be a more affordable alternate is forward Kelly Oubre Jr, who is not expected to re-sign with the Golden State Warriors as he searches for a more permanent home.
There’s no telling how this free agency period will go down for the Spurs, but if nothing else the buildup has certainly been more interesting than most fans are used to experiencing. Enjoy the ride while it’s lasts!