76ers close to hiring Collins as coach

The 76ers are a few hours of negotiations away from hiring Doug Collins
as their next head coach.

According to multiple sources, Sixers president and general manager Ed
Stefanski began the negotiations with Collins’ agent, John Langel, on
Wednesday afternoon.

One source said it was unlikely the parties would complete a deal before
Thursday, but indicated there was "nothing" immediately holding up

As The Inquirer reported Tuesday, Stefanski pinpointed Collins last week, keeping in contact with Collins’ camp almost daily since the initial meeting May 1 and giving the impression that a deal could be signed by the end of this week.

Earlier this week, it seemed Stefanski might schedule a second round of interviews with Collins, Avery Johnson, and Sam Mitchell, the last three candidates standing in this monthlong hiring process, but other sources suggested that Stefanski had already made his recommendation to team owner Ed Snider.

The Sixers are still paying Eddie Jordan, whom Stefanski fired April 15, through the 2011-12 season – a $6 million price tag. Although Collins would command a higher salary than Jordan’s $3 million a year, those with knowledge of the situation said they believed that would not be an issue.

Collins, 58, is working the Western Conference finals as an analyst for TNT. Collins, who played for the Sixers from 1973-81, last coached in 2003 with the Washington Wizards. He previously coached the Chicago Bulls (1986-89) and Detroit Pistons (1995-98).

His NBA coaching record is 332-287.

With next month’s NBA draft approaching, Stefanski has more on his mind than hiring a coach. Like most general managers, he will be in Chicago on Thursday and Friday to scout prospects at the NBA Draft Combine.

An invitation to the combine doesn’t ensure that a player will get drafted. It is, however, a good indicator of the top prospects.

Kentucky freshman point guard John Wall, who’s projected to be the Washington Wizards’ top overall pick in the draft, will participate. So will Ohio State junior swingman Evan Turner, whom the Sixers could take with the second overall pick.

In all, 53 prospects will participate in light workouts at the Attack Athletics facility on the west side of Chicago. The combine, run by trainer Tim Glover, will have agility drills and medical testing. Players will also interview with teams.


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