Making sense of the Milwaukee Bucks’ prior trade interest in John Collins

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - NOVEMBER 14 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - NOVEMBER 14 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

ESPN NBA insider Zach Lowe reported on his most recent podcast, The Lowe Post, that the Milwaukee Bucks had “relatively serious” internal discussions about potentially pursuing a trade for John Collins before his eventual trade to the Utah Jazz. Why would the Milwaukee Bucks be interested in trading for John Collins?

Zach Lowe went on to mention that it was his belief that the Milwaukee Bucks may have been looking for more bounce or just for a general change to shake up the roster a bit.

The Milwaukee Bucks may have satisfied the want for more bounce with their first draft pick last Thursday: Andre Jackson Jr., and could be better off having avoided getting involved with Collins.

What would a Milwaukee Bucks – Atlanta Hawks John Collins trade have looked like?

Looking at what the Atlanta Hawks got in return for John Collins makes it very conceivable that the Milwaukee Bucks could have acquired John Collins without giving up a member of the Big 3 and probably avoided giving up Brook Lopez as well.

The price for the Utah Jazz to pay for Collins was just Rudy Gay and a second round pick. However, the bigger incentive for the Atlanta Hawks was getting out from Collins’ remaining three-year, $78 million contract.

One trade that would have made the financial aspect work for the Milwaukee Bucks would likely not go over well with Bucks fans.

Sure, this deal works for the Milwaukee Bucks to strengthen their starting lineup. The Bucks could start Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Collins, and Brook Lopez. That lineup would be absolutely massive, and a forward pairing of Giannis Antetokounmpo and John Collins would be among the most athletic in the NBA.

However, the Milwaukee Bucks would lose their Sixth Man of the Year candidate in this scenario.

Does John Collins bring enough to the table that this deal would be worth considering? Personally, I say no. Collins does not make up the sum of what Grayson Allen and Bobby Portis do for the Bucks. Based on the 2022-23 season, I don’t think it would be worth it for the Bucks to trade Bobby Portis straight up for John Collins.

John Collins ascended quickly in his first three seasons, however, he has descended just as quickly over the past three seasons, going from 21.6 points per game in the 2019-20 season to just 13.1 a year ago. Not only has his points per game dramatically gone down, but also his field goal percentage from 2019-20, 58.3 percent, to last season, 50.8 percent. Also, Collins’ 3-point percentage from the 2019-20 season, 40.1 percent, to last season, 29.2 percent.

Seeing Collins’ production fall so dramatically makes it understandable why Atlanta was so desperate to trade him for a second round pick and a nearly 37-year-old NBA journeyman in Rudy Gay.

The Utah Jazz are in a better spot financially to be able to absorb John Collins’ contract than the Milwaukee Bucks are, making it easier to put a package together not as detrimental to their on-court product. While it is possible that the Utah Jazz are able to unlock what has made John Collins regress so drastically over the last three seasons, it is also possible that the Milwaukee Bucks dodged a bullet by not pursuing a trade for John Collins.

Zach Lowe also went on to mention in this podcast that he believes strongly that Khris Middleton will be back with the Milwaukee Bucks when free agency opens on Friday. Lowe also added he does ultimately believe Brook Lopez will also be back in Milwaukee despite reports that the Houston Rockets are preparing to pursue him.

Lowe believes that Brook Lopez will not want to be a lone veteran playing with a bunch of rookies and sophomores on an inexperienced roster at this stage of his career.

Next. 5 Targets under 25 for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2023 NBA Free Agency. dark

Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis and rumors.