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Report: Timberwolves continue to show interest in John Collins

The restricted free agent may be an alternative to Ben Simmons.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly among several teams interested in signing Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins this offseason.

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, and San Antonio Spurs are all expected to court Collins as he hits restricted free agency.

The Timberwolves have been connected to Collins since last February's trade deadline when ESPN's Jackie MacMullan said that the Timberwolves were "dying" to trade for Collins on The Bill Simmons Podcast. No deal was reached before the deadline but KSTP's Darren Wolfson reported on The Scoop Podcast that Collins camp viewed playing alongside Karl-Anthony Towns as "favorable."

Collins went on to star for the Hawks during their run to the Eastern Conference Finals averaging 13.9 points and 8.7 rebounds in 18 playoff games. That performance has made Collins a popular commodity and Charania reports that he could be attainable as a restricted free agent.

"Across the league, many believe [Collins] increased his value as a maximum contract player," Charania said. "...Hawks owner Tony Ressler said after the season that he hoped the team reached a "fair agreement" with Collins. Will the sides find that threshold?"

If Collins is made available, the Timberwolves could consider him to be a backup plan if they can't land Ben Simmons. Charania reported that the Philadelphia 76ers would like "an All-Star caliber player" in return for Simmons, which could be difficult for the Timberwolves to offer unless they were part of a three-team deal.

Blue Wire Pods' Dane Moore reported last week that Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas and Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand had discussions about a trade involving Simmons during the NBA Draft combine but those talks were "not substantive."

While acquiring Collins could cost the Timberwolves another max contract, Rosas hinted during a press conference last week that a sign-and-trade was a possibility to improve the roster this offseason.

"As we move forward, this team is going to get better primarily through trades and development," Rosas said. "I'll also throw free agency in as far as sign-and-trades but in this period of time that we're in, going into the draft, I think the draft is a good influence in allowing teams to be more aggressive."

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