The big news story of the day comes to us from the
Philadelphia Inquirer, where Bob Ford reports that the 76ers organization hopes
Doug Collins will step down at season’s end according to league sources. The
head coach has one year remaining on his contract, but another extension is not
in the works.
Ford outlines a number of possibilities, from Collins
walking away on his own terms, to his transitioning to a front office role so he
can collect the final $4.5 million left on the final year of his deal. However,
there is also some belief pride could interfere, and Collins would come back
even as a lame duck to fight the stigma that he’s not a “long-term coach.”
One thing it seems the Sixers are not willing to do is fire
Collins, with Ford citing that as being a bad move from a public-relations
The organization will have a huge
season-ticket renewal problem this offseason, and the last thing it needs is
engaging in a popularity contest with Collins. Selling tickets for next season
will be difficult enough.
"They really want to avoid a
backlash if the fans sided with Doug," the first NBA source said.
"They will be happy if Doug makes the call and it works out that he
There is no question Collins is a likeable figure, both as a
former player in Philly, and because of the energy, passion, and forthright
demeanor he’s brought to the position. I doubt there are many people here
who wanted to see him flame out quickly.
But then if reports are true, it also seems probable Sixers
brass might be overestimating just how much loyalty the fan base feels toward
Collins at this point. The product on the court is the real issue first and
foremost, and while how much of the responsibility for this mess can truthfully
be laid at Doug’s feet is debatable – as a head coach anyway – there is some
question as to whether he brings the right attitude to the situation, much less has
the longevity to see this rebuilding through.
And actually there has been plenty of disagreement about the
way Collins goes about his job. Young players such as Arnett
Moultrie this season, or Evan Turner and Nik Vucevic in the past, have wound up
in Doug’s doghouse for largely unknown reasons while observers clamored for those
kids to get more minutes. There is even a question of to what degree Collins’ system works, as his team often settles for low percentage shots.
Plus, Collins isn’t exactly innocent in the construction of
this current fiasco, either. When Andrew Bynum was acquired there was no
general manager in place, which would seem to indicate the head coach had a lot of say in the
matter, as he likely did in several more unpopular front-office-type decisions. Tony
DiLeo has since taken over as GM, but who knows how much influence Doug still wields.
I’m not necessarily anti-Doug Collins myself, if for no
other reason than it has been painful to watch the 76ers go through coach after
coach through the years, sometimes a change being made a season’s time or less. It’s been a
while since any decision that swift has been handed down, but the organization could benefit from some stability on the bench.
Even if we’re just being realistic about the situation and
not taking sides, the Sixers as a franchise are in no-man’s land right now.
Nobody is sure where the team is going to go from here, or how long it’s going
to take to build something that resembles a contender. What we do know is it will
take long enough that Collins wouldn't be here to see it regardless.
Should the head coach be sent packing? Does he deserve better? Is
that really going to be what causes the dozen or so of you who have season
ticket plans not to renew? Because even as a Doug Collins supporter of sorts, I would
have a hard time mustering any outrage for a change.
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