For years John Collins’ name had circulated in trade rumors and often in those rumors the Utah Jazz were named as an interested party.

This offseason the Jazz were finally able to strike a deal with the Atlanta Hawks, trading Rudy Gay and a future second-round draft pick in exchange for Collins. That trade was made official on Friday, putting an end to some significant unrest and worry for Collins.

“It’s a big stress relief,” Collins said on Sunday in his introductory interview session with local reporters. “Obviously my name has been in a lot of rumors and whatnot and it hasn’t been easy. So it’s just been good to finally get it over with and start anew in Utah.”

Prior to the trade being made official, Collins spent a few days in Utah, attending two of the Jazz’s three games in the Salt Lake City Summer League. He said he already feels like he’s been welcomed and shown love from Jazz fans, despite not having stepped on the court for the team yet.

“The organization welcomed me with open arms and just tried to try to make me feel as comfortable as possible,” Collins said. “But being able to go into the Delta Center and halfway greet the fans — obviously everything wasn’t as official as we’d like it to be — I still wanted to be around and just try to pop my face in on the Utah faithful and try to start my relationship as early as I can.”

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Collins was born at Hill Air Force Base in Layton, but raised in Florida in a military family. Though he considers himself a “Florida boy” and has no memory of being in Utah as an infant, he’s happy to be back where life started for him.

“It is pretty cool for it to come back full circle,” Collins said. “Coming back to Utah is really cool … that’s just how life works.”

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Collins said that he hasn’t given a ton of thought to his fit with the Jazz, but he’s excited about the unselfish way the Jazz play and how Will Hardy coaches the team. He considers himself a versatile player who is willing to adapt and change for his team in order to make them better and he is looking forward to training camp and getting things really rolling with his new team.

Off the court, Collins said he considers himself just as versatile as he is on the court. He loves spending time outdoors and enjoying time with his 3-year-old son, but he also has varied interests.

I enjoy reading, I’m a big geography guy, I like listening to podcasts and really just informing myself on topics I’m interested in,” Collins said. “It could be anything from water levels — I’m an eco-friendly guy — to the military and learning about new military tactics. … I’m really just a normal guy. I play video games, chill with my fam, love the game of basketball.”

Collins will rejoin the Jazz in Utah in September when training camp begins before the team takes on the 2023-24 season.

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