Who's Available? The early candidates to replace Doug Collins

Who's Available? The early candidates to replace Doug Collins

April 15, 2013, 11:00 am
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Funerals don't last long in the NBA. So with Doug Collins, according to a league source, set to retire as coach of the 76ers at the end of the season (see story), the team's hunt for a new coach begins in earnest.

This is not a new situation for the Sixers. The team will be searching for its eighth coach in the last 11 years. Collins' tenure was the second-longest out of the bunch, with his former teammate Maurice Cheeks working 23 games into his fourth season with the team.

Obviously, some continuity with coaches is something for the front office to strive for. Then again, coaches are hired to be fired ... unless they resign and negotiate a buyout.

Either way, here are a handful of possible coaching candidates for the Sixers:

Michael Curry
When Collins was ousted as coach in Detroit in 1998, he lobbied for his top assistant, Alvin Gentry, to take his place. Undoubtedly, Collins will push just as hard for Curry to be his successor this time around, too.

Curry would be a good choice to keep some semblance of continuity within the coaching staff. He knows the players and has a good rapport with them. Plus, Curry coached the 2008-09 Pistons to a playoff berth with a 39-43 record.

What Curry lacks is the big name that attracts the media and casual fans. But does that really matter?

Stan and/or Jeff Van Gundy
The Van Gundy brothers have the name recognition and the resumes that likely will get them a phone call concerning most job openings around the league. If the Sixers' brass is looking for a splashy hire, Jeff or Stan will do.

That said, with plenty of options, would the Van Gundys be interested in the Sixers?

Brian Shaw
When Phil Jackson retired from the Lakers at the end of the 2011 season, many in basketball circles thought his assistant Brian Shaw was the logical heir. Instead, the Lakers hired Mike Brown and things fell apart quickly.

Since then, Shaw reportedly turned down the head coaching job in Charlotte and has been working as the associate head coach for Indiana. Shaw will be a popular choice for plenty of the coaching vacancies this summer.

Mike Brown
Hey, he had to do something to get hired by the Lakers without an endorsement from Kobe. Though his tenure with the Lakers didn't go well, Brown was at the helm when LeBron James led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals. He also knows how to work with superstars, having coached a few guys who go by one name in LeBron, Kobe and Shaq.

Lionel Hollins
Though he's taking Memphis to the playoffs again this season, Hollins' future with the Grizzlies has been reported to be murky at best. In the final year of a three-year deal, reports are that Hollins' future will be determined by how well the Grizzlies perform in the postseason.

Also like Curry and Shaw, Hollins played for the Sixers. After Cheeks and Collins, do the Sixers want another former player?

Avery Johnson
The Nets turned it around when Johnson was fired last December. Still, Johnson took the Mavericks to the NBA Finals in his first full season as head coach and followed that up with 67 wins the next season.

A first-round flameout in the playoffs was the beginning of the end for Johnson in Dallas.

Chuck Person
A popular assistant with the Lakers, Person will be an NBA head coach someday. He might not be ready yet, but a situation like the Sixers could be a good first stop for Person.