Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins will resign at the end of the season, a league source confirmed on Sunday night.
The Sixers picked up the option on Collins’ contract for the 2013-14 season in training camp and he announced then he would have liked to remain with the organization in some capacity when his training career was finished.
Collins will stay with the organization in a front-office or advisory role was an option if he makes a decision to step down, according to sources close to the situation.
Team president Rod Thorn was already set to step aside after this season; leaving open the chance Collins assumes greater front-office control.
With the franchise in decline after the Andrew Bynum trade was a massive flop, Collins decided he wanted no part of what could actually be a long rebuilding effort.
The 76ers are 33-47 and in ninth place in the Eastern Conference a year since they won 35 games and a round in the playoffs in last year’s lockout-shortened season. NFL lines
Collins, a 4-time All-Star with the Sixers, returned to the franchise in 2010 and led them to the playoffs in each of his first 2 seasons.
After falling one win shy of advancing to the Eastern Conference finals last season, the Sixers shook up the roster and made the bold move to acquire Bynum.
Bynum never played for the 76ers due to bone bruises in both knees. He insisted from training camp he would play this season, only to shut it down for good on March 18 and undergo season-ending arthroscopic surgery on both knees. Bynum earned $16.5 million this season and is about to become an unrestricted free agent.
His decision came out only hours after his agent said Collins would return next season.
“He’s here for another year, at least,” agent John Langel announced. “He’s the coach and we’ll see what happens.”
There wasn’t immediate word on when he told his players. No Sixer indicated in the postgame locker room that Collins was leaving.
Hall of Famer Julius Erving, a former Sixers great and team adviser, related before Sunday’s win over Cleveland Cavaliers that the Sixers needed to keep Collins.
“The organization can ill-afford to have Doug walk away,” Erving expounded. “You’re not going to get a better coach or a better teacher.”
Collins guided a young Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls from 1986-89, and the Pistons from 1995-98. He coached Jordan again with the Washington Wizards from 2001-03.
His 2 seasons with the Wizards had been his just 2 full seasons in which he didn’t lead his team to the playoffs. He was fired right after Jordan was denied a return to the front office.
He was a 4-time All-Star with the Sixers, and he averaged 17.9 points in a vocation marred by injuries. A knee injury forced him to retire in 1981, 2 years before the Sixers beat the Lakers for the 1983 NBA title.