Source: If Collins doesn't return, it will be his decision

Source: If Collins doesn't return, it will be his decision

April 11, 2013, 2:30 pm
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If Doug Collins does not return to coach the Philadelphia 76ers next season, it won’t be because the Sixers want him out, according to a league source as well as Collins' agent.

The source said the Sixers are completely supportive of Collins as he heads into the last season of his contract as the team's head coach.

This comes contrary to a story published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which, citing league sources, claims that the team “privately hopes that [Collins] decides not to return for the 2013-14 season.”

The Sixers, through a team spokesperson, chose not to respond to the report. Collins' agent John Langel did respond, telling that Collins is in control of his future with the team.

“The relationship with Doug, me and Sixers management has been terrific,” Langel said. “What they told me beyond this season and as recently as today and yesterday is how long Doug stays here is Doug’s decision.”

Collins is signed through the 2013-14 season after the team picked up the fourth-year option on his contract just before training camp. Additionally, Collins also has had input in personnel matters with the team, along with general manager Tony DiLeo and team president Rod Thorn.

The source said the Sixers never had discussions about replacing Collins. Accordingly, Adam Aron told in an interview in March that the Sixers hoped Collins would coach the team for many years.

“I haven’t had conversations with him about [his future],” Aron said. “But, look, I’ll say it again: There is no coach controversy in Philadelphia. Doug Collins is a superb NBA coach. I hope Doug Collins is our coach for years and years and years and years. We’ll all see what happens together.”
Asked to clarify, Aron said he expected Collins to be back for next season.
“I do,” Aron said. “But, what I was saying was, I hope he’s not back for one year, I hope he’s back for years and years and years. Having said all that, this isn’t about our coach. This is about an entire organization working together to produce a winning, contending, elite team for Philadelphia and Philadelphia sports fans. This year, primarily because of the [Andrew] Bynum situation, we haven’t been able to do that. There is going to be a lot of work that is going to have to go on in the offseason to take the Sixers from where we are today to where we want them to be.”
Not even one month prior to those remarks, Collins addressed his future in his own interview with in February, describing the terms under which he'd stop coaching.
“As long as I am having fun and feel like I am making a difference, I will try [to keep coaching]," he said. "The moment I feel like I am not making a difference in the young players’ lives or doing my job to get the winning in a place that it should be, then I will make that decision.”

Collins has never coached a team for more than three years in his long career. He lasted three years with the Chicago Bulls, advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals in his last year. He also was relieved as coach and executive with the Detroit Pistons after two-and-a-half seasons and lasted only two seasons in Washington.

Collins was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1973 NBA draft and played for eight seasons with the Sixers. When injuries ended his career, Collins began his Hall of Fame broadcasting career with the Sixers. Publicly, during the Sixers’ playoff run in his first year coaching the team, Collins stated that his desire was to coach the Sixers for five years.

Circumstances can change, though. The much-heralded trade to bring Andrew Bynum to the Sixers backfired, and the team’s fortunes in the standings faltered as well. With the Sixers 31-47, Collins will finish the season with his worst record in 11 seasons as an NBA head coach. That’s a far cry from the 60-win season Collins predicted the Sixers could have with Bynum at center.

Meanwhile, Collins’ son, Chris, was named the head coach of the Northwestern basketball program this month. The school is located near the Chicago suburb where the Collins family lived and the elder Collins could decide to watch his son begin his head coaching career.

Stay tuned.

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