Uncertainty clouds Sixers after win over Cavs

76ers coach Doug Collins huddling with his team before the game. His agent said Collins would return next season, but a Yahoo Sports report indicated otherwise.
76ers coach Doug Collins huddling with his team before the game. His agent said Collins would return next season, but a Yahoo Sports report indicated otherwise. (RON CORTES / Staff)
Posted: April 16, 2013

The 76ers won their final home game of the season on a day when the franchise celebrated the 30-year anniversary of its 1982-83 NBA championship team.


That's what a wearying disappointment of a season will do to an organization. The present-day reality mutes even the greatest moments in franchise history.

Someday the Sixers may once again establish themselves as NBA contenders. But it's hard to say if Sunday's 91-77 win over equally struggling Cleveland at the Wells Fargo Center was something to build on.

Yahoo Sports reported late Sunday that Doug Collins plans to resign as Sixers coach at the end of the season. Several sources confirmed the report.

His agent, John Langel, said earlier in the day that Collins would be "here for another year, at least." Langel said Collins would not ask for a contract extension.

Before the report surfaced, Collins refused to talk about his status. "What do you want to know about Cleveland?" Collins asked. "Everything else is moot."

At least Dorell Wright had another impressive game.

The reserve swingman made 6 of 13 shots to finish with a game-high 15 points as the Sixers (33-47) won their second straight game. Also reaching double figures were Jrue Holiday (14 points), Thaddeus Young (14), Spencer Hawes (14), Damien Wilkins (11) and reserve Arnett Moultrie (10).

Going forward, among the team's unrestricted free agents at season's end will be Andrew Bynum, who has never played for the Sixers, Damien Wilkins, Nick Young, Wright, Royal Ivey and Kwame Brown. Brown, who has a player option, will probably decide to return next season. Charlie Jenkins will be a restricted free agent.

"We are going to do everything in our power in the offseason to make next year even more exciting than ever," Sixers majority owner Josh Harris told fans at halftime.

The players are well aware that offseason moves are coming.

"You have to get used to it," Evan Turner said. "It ain't up to you. Whatever they decide to do, that's it. Whatever. Call me when you figure it out. You know?"

Perhaps the best thing about this season is that there are only two games left. But on Sunday, the Sixers celebrated some of their glorious past.

Members of the franchise's last NBA championship team were honored in the halftime ceremony.

On hand were Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Earl Cureton, Clint Richardson, Reggie Johnson, Clemson Johnson, former general manager Pat Williams and former executive John Nash.

The 1982-83 team finished the regular season with a 65-17 record before going 12-1 in the postseason. The Sixers swept the Los Angeles Lakers in four games in the NBA Finals.

Dr. J's take

Speaking to reporters before the '83 champions were honored, Erving was critical of the Bynum trade and warned what may befall the Sixers if Collins leaves.

"The organization can ill afford to have Doug walk away because you are not going to get a better coach or a better teacher," Erving, a team consultant, said.

The trade for Bynum is clearly a sore spot for Erving.

"I know what the net result is. The net result is [former Boston center] Robert Parrish's old number: zero, zero," Erving said. "So we have not benefited one degree and I guess he has. I think if he's not here, you are going to free up a lot of money, and money talks in the NBA."

"We need somebody to play the corner and the middle for us," Erving added. "It's going to be costly, but the Bynum situation is going to be one of total uncertainty for another year."

Erving hinted that he might like to be involved in the rebuilding of the franchise.

"The franchise right now, we're in a little bit of a hole. It's almost like starting over," he said. "With the Bynum deal not working out, there are potential deals out there that I wouldn't mind being consulted on as far as bringing in free agents and vetting them. It would be important to have another opinion there."

Contact Keith Pompey at kpompey@phillynews.com.

Staff writer John Mitchell contributed to this report.