Among all of coaching vacancies around the NBA, the Philadelphia 76ers’ opening appeared to be one of the least desirable. Evidently, Doug Collins didn’t think so.
The acclaimed broadcaster and former Michael Jordan yes-man has agreed to a four-year contract to coach the Sixers. It will likely take at least two years to re-organize a roster filled with expensive pieces that simply don’t fit.
It starts with Elton Brand, who has three years remaining on a contract that will pay him over $50 million. Brand has never recovered from knee surgery and put up modest numbers last season.
Making matters worse, the Sixers often played better when he wasn’t on the court.
Andre Iguodala, the face of the franchise by default, is under contract until 2013-2014 at over $13 million per season. Lou Williams, once considered to be the next Allen Iverson sans the attitude, has three years, $17 million left on his deal. Samuel Dalembert, a good shot blocker and rebounder who disappears for long stretches, is slated to make $12.2 million next season.
Even the role players are overpaid. Jason Kapono will make nearly $7 million next season, Rodney Carney $2 million, and Willie Green $4 million.
You get the idea.
A bevy of bad contracts means that while many other NBA teams will be active in the best free agent period in league history, the Sixers will have sit back and watch.
The franchise will most likely use the No. 2 pick in the 2010 draft to select Evan Turner, a player with similar skills to Scottie Pippen. Turner has all the makings of a star, but that doesn’t mean the Sixers will get better, at least not right away.
A lineup featuring Turner, Iguodala, and Jrue Holiday would be inept at shooting from the perimeter and adept and fighting for the ball.
The Sixers might think about selecting man-child Derrick Favors instead of Turner to provide much-needed inside help. Passing on Turner probably wouldn’t go over too well in Philly.
Doug Collins has a colossal mess on his hands. It will be difficult to move contracts and even more difficult to make all the pieces fit.
Collins’ career record (332-287) has been bettered by two dynamic young talents. Michael Jordan in Chicago (NOT Washington) and pre-injury Grant Hill in Detroit helped him turn around the fortunes of struggling franchises.
A former Sixer who spent eight years in Philadelphia, Collins was the right man for the job. It remains to be seen if the job will be right for him.