Boston Celtics

Feb 10, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) dunks the ball against the Dallas Mavericks during the second quarter at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

A big deadline move from the Celtics seems unlikely to involve Atlanta big man John Collins, according to a nugget dropped by The Athletic’s Sam Amick during an appearance on The A-List Podcast with A. Sherrod Blakely.

“I was told that the Celtics are somewhat out on the John Collins pursuit,” Amick, who added more fuel to the recent Aaron Gordon speculation, told Blakely. “There’s some concern about the fact that he’s gonna cost a lot of money this offseason.”

A 6-foot-9 forward who can also play center when necessary, Collins is averaging 18.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game through 43 games this season. Collins is coming off a 2019-20 that established career-high marks in points (21.6), rebounds (10.1), and blocks (1.6) per game, along with a career-best 58.3 field goal percentage, in 41 appearances for the Hawks.

Finding his potential fit on this underachieving C’s squad is hardly an impossible task.

Speaking to those money concerns, however, Amick noted that Collins and his camp have already rejected a $90 million extension from the Hawks, and forwarded along that the 23-year-old views himself as a potential max player.

The Hawks have also won eight of nine games since Nate McMillan took over as the team’s interim head coach, and currently sit at fourth in the East, so perhaps their desire to move Collins for anything less than a stellar return has understandably waned.

But this doesn’t mean that Danny Ainge and the Celtics are going with their usual ‘stand pat’ deadline approach.

“The one change in terms of Danny and the Celtics, and the mood that they normally have this time of year, is you’re kind of sensing — at least from other teams — that the level of motivation and the pressure that has been applied to the situation is such that maybe it does finally get [a trade] over the finish line,” Amick said. “Because [the Celtics are] a .500 team that is used to being in the conference finals, now with young guys who are used to being on All-Star teams and they wanna win. A lot of angst, stress, and pressure is working its way up into the front office.

“And I’m dying to see what Danny does.”

Ainge and the Celtics, who have not made a real deadline deal since their 2015 move for Isaiah Thomas, will have until Thursday afternoon to do something.