Not all trades in the NBA happen on the day of the trade deadline.
Reddish was a player many expected the Hawks to trade before the February 10 deadline.
They are deep at the wing position and reportedly did not want to pay for his next contract.
In return, they got Kevin Knox II and a protected first-round pick from New York via Charlotte.
Full ESPN trade story on New York acquiring Atlanta's Cam Reddish: https://t.co/2zWYaGw4eF
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 13, 2022
On the day of the trade, Atlanta was struggling.
They were 17-23 and had lost 14 of their last 20 games.
For a team that made a surprising run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, sitting in 12th place near the halfway point was not great.
Since then, the Hawks have gone 5-2 with wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat.
They are a half-game out of the play-in tournament and six games out of the sixth seed.
While they have already shipped out Reddish, the Hawks should not look to be sellers at the deadline.
Hawks Need to Keep Trae Happy
Superstars are the key to winning in the NBA.
And the Hawks have their superstar in Trae Young.
The 23-year-old point guard is averaging 27.7 points and 9.3 assists per game in his fourth full season.
Young is shooting 45.3 percent from the field while canning 38 percent of his 7.7 triples attempted per game.
His shooting range puts tremendous strain on opposing defenses and is the driving engine behind Atlanta’s offense.
Trae Young is currently leading the NBA in total points scored (1,174)! pic.twitter.com/ZxtwST4N4D
— Hawks Nation (@HawksNationCP) January 27, 2022
And while he just signed his rookie max extension this past August, the Hawks cannot get complacent.
Young is signed through 2027 with his new deal.
But in the era of star empowerment, players can force their way out at any time (or at least try to).
And for a small market team like Atlanta that doesn’t attract high-profile free agents, they need to keep their homegrown stars content.
The best way to keep stars content is by winning.
Young is still a few years away from his prime but gaining playoff experience now will be crucial.
Keeping Young surrounded with a supporting cast that can help him reach and win in the playoffs is important.
With many of the Hawks’ key rotation players being around the same age as Trae, Atlanta should not be in the business of selling them off for picks or young prospects.
The Hawks are a young team who have already made a Conference Finals.
A rough start to a season should not change up their mindset.
Core Locked Up
Another reason for the Hawks to be buyers at the deadline is they have most of their core locked up for the foreseeable future.
Young is signed through 2027.
John Collins is signed through 2026.
Kevin Huerter is signed through 2026.
And Clint Capela is signed through 2025.
Not to mention De’Andre Hunter becomes extension eligible this offseason with Atlanta likely to give him a long-term deal.
Those five players also average the most minutes per game on the Atlanta roster.
And except for Capela (27), the other four are either 23 or 24 years old.
Meaning the Hawks will have their core pieces in place as they enter their primes.
Winning at such a young age adds to the pressure of expectations.
That pressure paired with a bad start should not lead to a sell-off at the deadline.
What About Collins?
Collins is clearly a talented young player with loads of potential.
He is only 24 years old and is currently averaging 16.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game.
All while shooting 53.6 percent from the field, 41.4 percent from deep (3.2 attempts per game), and 80 percent from the line.
Impressive numbers from a 6-foot-9 power forward who can jump out of the gym.
But Collins’ name has frequently been heard in trade rumors.
Why the Hawks are actively shopping Collins is unclear.
Perhaps they are looking for a defensive upgrade to shore up a unit allowing 111.5 points per game – 24th in the league.
Or maybe it is due to the frustration Collins reportedly has with his role in the offense.
His usage percentage is the lowest it’s been since his rookie year as is his field goal attempts and points per game.
Whatever the reason, Collins is available for trade.
And for a relatively low asking price of “one valuable first-round pick and a starting-caliber player” per Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
The Hawks have shown interest in trading for Derrick White, while the Spurs have shown interest in the trading for John Collins. (via B/R)
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) January 27, 2022
If the Hawks are going to make Collins available, they should get more than that in return.
His age, production, and contract warrant a larger haul than a starter and a first-round pick.
Any of the three would be solid additions to this Hawks’ squad, but the package needs to be right.
Collins should not be traded for anybody who does not help the Hawks win right now.