During his 40-minute meeting with the media Tuesday at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Collins opened by saying the team had signed guard Royal Ivey, who played parts of two seasons with the team before being traded in 2010. He then spent the rest of the time answering questions about the thinking behind stockpiling so many tall wing players, about bringing in Kwame Brown (perhaps the starting center), and how the pieces will all come together this season after the surprising run that left them one win short of reaching the Eastern Conference finals.
"We looked at it with the idea that it's nice to have guys on contracts where they're playing, man, they're playing for their futures," Collins said. "We'll work and see who fits and how we'll move forward. Flexibility was key."
He was talking, of course, about the flexibility of his team with many players who can play multiple positions. But there are also those flexible contracts.
Wright ($4.1 million) and Nick Young ($6 million) were inked to 1-year deals each, while Brown agreed to a 2-year deal worth $6 million. Unrestricted free agent Spencer Hawes agreed to a 2-year deal for about $6.5 million a year, and Andre Iguodala has 2 more years left on his hefty contract ($14.7 million this year, $15.9 million the next). Financially, there appears to be a lot of light at the end of the long tunnel.
Tuesday, though, was more about the players and type of team Collins will oversee this season; the most questioned move was the signing of Brown, whom Collins had as a rookie right out of high school in 2001, when Collins coached Washington.
Brown, now 30, will be joining his seventh NBA team and could be the team's starting center. Collins didn't hesitate when he glowingly talked about Brown's defense and ability to bring a strength and toughness he feels the team sorely needs.
"He was young and he wasn't ready," said Collins of the Brown he drafted. "There was a lot of pressure on that young kid. He was 6-10, 260 pounds, quick. I wish I could have done better for him, I really do, in looking back. I wish I could have taken some of the pressure off of him. You had Michael Jordan, who was 40 years old and trying to win. But he's excited to be here. I just told Kwame I can't offer you a lot of money, but I can offer you a home. It will be a comfortable place where you'll be around people. To get Kwame under the kind of contract that we got him, we feel blessed."
As for the plethora of bigger swingmen, Collins feels he now has a competitive team not just in the conference but within his own practice gym.
"The beauty of every day in practice is that we think we've got opening day of training camp; we have Jrue [Holiday] going against Royal Ivey every day. We think Royal is going to really make Jrue work every single day. You've got Evan [Turner] and Nick Young, you've got Dre [Iguodala] and a Dorell Wright and you've got Harkless. So you've got all those things. At the ‘four' spot, you've got Spencer and you've got Thad [Young], and you've got Moultrie. And then at the ‘five' spot, you've got Kwame and Lavoy [Allen] and you've got Nik [Vucevic]. I think the one thing l've tried to establish is that if we have a very competitive nature about our team, and that when we do things, competitors are going to find the floor, and I think our guys thrive on that."
When pressed about playing the slower Hawes at power forward, Collins said he's comfortable with the move.
"When we looked at the Eastern Conference, we thought of how many of those stretch ‘fours' do you say are quick or are going to run? There are not a whole lot of those kinds of guys. Some of the teams have them. But as we looked at it, Spencer really wants to float around and be on the perimeter and shoot the ball. With our starting group, we need a guy who can shoot the ball. That's important for us. When I looked at our team also, you have to look at how guys fit with each other."
After a job as basketball analyst for NBC at the Summer Olympics in London in a couple of weeks, Collins will be back here trying to figure out all his new puzzle pieces.
Contact Bob Cooney at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BobCooney76. For more Sixers coverage and opinion, read his blog at www.philly.com/Sixerville.