Sixers' Doug Collins not returning next season

Sources say 76ers head coach Doug Collins told management that he would prefer not to return as coach next season. (H. Rumph Jr/AP)

This big question for the 76ers this offseason used to center around what the organization will do with Andrew Bynum. Now it has shifted. The offseason will now include a search for a new coach.

This is how this past week appears to have played out between 76ers coach Doug Collins and management, according to multiple league sources.

The sources say that Collins, now in his third season as head coach and with one more year remaining on his contract, told management that he would prefer not to return as coach next season. Owner Josh Harris informed Collins that he very much wants Collins back at the helm next season, but was informed that Collins was not prepared to return in that capacity. Both sides, according to the sources, have agreed on the same goal, and that is to reach an amicable solution to the matter.

So it appears after 3 season, Collins’ tenure will end after the final game on Wednesday.

Attempts to the Sixers for comment were unsuccessful.

Despite reports, the sources reiterated that at no time did Harris not want Collins as his head coach next season.

Following the Sixers’ 91-77 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the team’s home finale, Collins’ lawyer, John Langel, told a few reporters that his client will indeed be returning next season. All this firestorm started when an Inquirer story last Thursday cited sources saying that the Sixers organization privately hoped Collins would not return for the 2013-14 season.

“He’s here for another year, at least,” Langel said Sunday. “He’s the coach and we’ll see what happens.” Langel, who fostered a one-year extension for Collins on the original 3-year contract before this season started, stated Sunday that he hasn’t asked for another extension for Collins because the coach didn’t ask him to. “

Collins was set to make $4.5 million next season. Whether he and the organization come to some kind of settlement now that he won’t be returning will probably be answered some time soon.

This was supposed to be the year where he was rewarded for the fruits of his labor, after a huge offseason trade brought in Andrew Bynum and a series of moves built a roster that appeared to be one that would mesh well with the 7-foot, 300-hundred pounder. But Bynum never played a game and other injuries prevented Collins from ever finding a cohesive unit throughout the season, thus resulting in the current 33-47 record.

With Bynum now coming off double knee surgery it would certainly be a huge risk for the team to follow through on what was their original plan – to sign the big center to a long-term contract. Add to that the fact that there are a few expiring contracts and perhaps a trade or 2 in the future and the current roster may have a completely different look next season. All those factors certainly must have paid a huge part in Collins’ decision not to return.

Collins was probably pulled away from his current position due to other situations surrounding him. His son, Chris, was recently named head coach at Northwestern University after 13 seasons as an assistant coach at Duke. Collins also has 5 grandchildren whom he admittedly would like to spend more time with.

When asked about all this before Friday’s game in Washington and again before Sunday’s game against Cleveland, Collins said he only wanted to talk about the games at hand and that he wouldn’t get into anything else. The Sixers will play in Detroit Monday then finish the season on Wednesday in Indianapolis. Thursday, Harris and Collins will talk to the media.