The quesions were ready to fly, but 76ers coach Doug Collins was having none of it. Barely one question got out about the recent Inquirer story that cited sources saying some in Sixers management wouldn't mind seeing Collins leave before the coach cut the direction of questioning into another area.
“Absolutely," said Collins when asked if he feels management has his back. "I’m going to talk about the NBA, I’m going to talk about Washington, so let’s move forward about the Washington game. Let’s move forward to the basketball game. We have 4 more games to play. I’ve told you all along, I’m not the topic of conversation. We’re going to focus in on the games, we’re going to play those. We’ll sit down at the end of the season, as we’ve always done. I have a wonderful relationship with (owner) Josh Harris and we will discuss what we need to do next year.
“I told you, let’s talk about the basketball game. You drove a long way here for that. There’s nothing to put to bed. Guys, you’re not going to trick me. Let’s go. What do you want to talk about? I want to talk about the basketball game. The focus is not me.”
Of course, it is, though. The question whether Collins will come back for next season, which he is under contract for, is really the only pivitol one surrounding this organization right now as the team is just playing out the string before this season mercifully ends.
You can read into the fact that Collins said he will sit down with Harris at the end of the season means that there is a decision to be made. And, Collins didn't come out and say that he'd be back. Reached for comment after the story came out on Thursday, management declined to comment.
It was reported that Collins is scheduled to make $4.5 million next season. Should he quit, he wouldn't receive that money. Should he be fired, however, the team would still owe him the salary.