Doug Collins

Bulls Notes: White, Harrison, Boylen, Collins

Bulls coach Jim Boylen is reversing his stance on not starting rookie guard Coby White for the rest of the season, according to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. With the playoffs out of reach, White may be inserted into the starting lineup soon as the team focuses on developing players for next season.

“I think that day is probably coming,” Boylen said after practice this morning. “We’ve talked all year about developing and winning. Is that day coming? I would say, ‘Yes, probably.’ When, I’m not exactly sure.”

White is making a strong case for a starting role with his recent performance. He is averaging 27.7 points and 3.9 assists over the past seven games, and Schaefer notes that his defense and decision making have improved.

“He’s been great, man,” Zach LaVine said. “Just seeing his growth over the last month, he’s getting better every game. Even if it’s not like he’s getting 30 like he was, he’s still doing things that we’re progressing on. He’s growing every game.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Shaquille Harrison used his new-found 3-point stroke to put up a career-high 25 points last night, Schaefer writes in a separate story. He has made nine of his last 11 from beyond the arc after shooting 27.7% on 3-pointers for his career. With restricted free agency looming this summer, Harrison is looking for any edge he can find to prove his worth. “I was undrafted, I had a couple offers coming out of high school,” he said. “I’ve always been that last guy they’re looking at, and I knew I had to make an impression that one opportunity or chance I get. So, it’s usual for me, it’s nothing new. I take pride in that, a lot of guys can’t do that.”
  • Boylen is denying reports of a rift with senior advisor Doug Collins, relays K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports. The dispute reportedly involves Collins’ presence at coaching staff meetings. “All my interaction with Doug has been very positive. He’s been in my meetings and on the floor with the team,” Boylen said. “I don’t control his schedule or if he’s here or not here. We’ve had a very good, close relationship since he’s been here.”
  • Despite another disappointing season, Boylen continues to have strong backing from ownership and executive vice president John Paxson, Johnson writes in another piece.

Bulls Preparing For Front Office Changes

7:57pm: K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago echoes many of Cowley’s points in his own report, writing that talk has been “rampant throughout All-Star weekend” about the changes the Bulls are expected to make to their front office. The team is seeking someone to take on the day-to-day basketball operations and become a “fresh voice and face of the franchise,” writes Johnson.

7:21pm: The Bulls are in the early stages of adding a new executive to their front office, sources tell Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. According to Cowley, vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and COO Michael Reinsdorf have begun to do legwork – through back channels – on potential candidates.

Cowley, who suggests the Bulls are in the market for a general manager “with a louder voice,” writes that the search is expected to be widespread. Gar Forman still holds the GM role in Chicago for now, but senior advisor Doug Collins is among those who are in favor of a change, according to Cowley.

As Cowley explains, the idea would be for Paxson to “slip into the background” as the new general manager assumes media duties. Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf likes the model employed by the Chicago White Sox, with Ken Williams in the background as the VP while Rick Hahn has been more empowered in his GM role. For the Bulls, Paxson would take on a Williams-esque role, with the new GM playing Hahn’s part.

Forman, meanwhile, would likely be reassigned to a scouting position rather than being fired, per Cowley, who notes that the team wants to build up its scouting department this spring.

Paxson and Forman have headed the Bulls’ front office for over a decade, much to the chagrin of a significant faction of Bulls fans. During Friday’s episode of ESPN’s First Take, when guard Zach LaVine was asked whether he has confidence in Chicago’s decision-makers, the fans in attendance began to boo and a chant of “Fire GarPax!” broke out (link via Madeline Kenney of The Chicago Sun-Times).

Assuming the Bulls do move forward with the front office changes Cowley outlines in his report, it’ll be interesting to see whether the club sticks with head coach Jim Boylen, who has received the full support of the current group. Boylen’s current contract isn’t a long-term deal, so it’s possible a new GM would be given the go-ahead to make the call on his future.

Central Notes: Thompson, Cavaliers, LaVine, Collins, Pistons

Before the Knicks traded Carmelo Anthony to the Thunder, the Cavaliers were another potential suitor for his services. New York wanted Cleveland center Tristan Thompson in a deal for Anthony but the Cavaliers rejected that offer, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.

The Knicks wanted cost-friendly, young, and productive assets in exchange for Anthony. Thompson, 26, is under contract for three seasons but will make a hefty salary, starting with $16.4MM in 2017/18. Vardon reports that Cleveland was willing to part with other sizeable contracts on the roster — primarily Iman Shumpert and his $11MM salary — but no deal was reached.

New York still acquired a young, controllable center for Anthony as Enes Kanter came to New York in the deal. Kanter will take in nearly $20.6MM this upcoming season and holds an $18.6MM player option for 2018/19.

Read more news from the Central Division:

  • In his latest mailbag, Vardon answered several questions about the Cavaliers ahead of training camp. Vardon believes it is possible that the team trades Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick (acquired in the Kyrie Irving trade) for an elite talent.
  • Zach LaVine, who was acquired from the Timberwolves in the Jimmy Butler deal, is coming off a serious injury as he prepares for his first season in Chicago. However, former Bulls head coach and current Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau feels that LaVine, still just 22 years old, has tremendous upside, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes.
  • During a recent podcast, Cowley spoke about what the hiring of Doug Collins as a senior adviser for the Bulls means for the team.
  • NBA.com’s Sam Smith previews the Bulls’ 2017/18 season by examining how the team’s mostly young core will develop.
  • NBA.com’s Keith Langlois looks at several storylines entering the Pistons‘ season. Among those storylines include Avery Bradley adjusting to Detroit, Luke Kennard‘s first impressions, and Reggie Jackson returning to form.

Central Notes: Bucks, Mirotic, Bulls, Collins, Love

The Bucks are looking to improve on their 42-win campaign and they’re banking on continuity to give them a boost in the standings, Matt Velazquez of the Journal Sentinel writes. Milwaukee has hardly made any changes to its roster this offseason, with 13 of 15 players who finished last season with the team still under contract.

“[Continuity is] going to be huge, I think, with training camp being a little shorter,” Bucks head coach Jason Kidd said. “The veteran teams are going to have the advantage — there’s not a lot of time before your first game. Just understanding that continuity is big for us. We’re still young, but hopefully, we feel we’re going in the right direction. Hopefully, we can use that to our advantage early on in the season.”

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Nikola Mirotic remains on the market, albeit as a restricted free agent, and executive Bulls VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson indicates that the power forward’s qualifying offer is still on the table, as Nick Friedell of ESPN.com tweets. The power forward will make approximately $7.23MM this upcoming season should he accept his qualifying offer, and has until October 1 to do so.
  • The Bulls hired Doug Collins as a senior advisor on Tuesday, and he expects to do just that — advise. During his introductory press conference, the former head coach indicated that he won’t return to the sidelines to coach the Bulls “under any circumstances,” and stressed that he won’t have decision-making power in the front office (Twitter links via K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune).
  • Tyronn Lue won’t commit to Kevin Love as his starting center, though the Cavaliers coach said the UCLA product will be more involved in the offense this upcoming season.“Right now we’re just trying to get all of our pieces together and right now Tristan [Thompson]‘s our starter,” Lue tells Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. “I’m just thinking we’re going to run a lot more stuff through Kevin, more at the elbows, like we’ve done the last year and a half. Just trying to figure out with our new pieces and our new players and just see what works best for us.”

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Bulls Hire Doug Collins As Senior Advisor

The Bulls have hired former NBA head coach Doug Collins to a front office role, announcing today in a press release that Collins is joining the organization as a senior advisor of basketball operations. Collins will report to Bulls executive VP of basketball ops John Paxson, according to the team.

“Doug will be great in this capacity for our organization. The position of ‘senior advisor’ has proven to work well around the NBA in recent years, and I am confident the same will hold true with the Bulls,” Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. “The fact that our relationship goes back more than 30 years certainly helps, but he is especially qualified to assist our leadership in rebuilding the Bulls.”

In a statement of his own, Paxson suggested that Collins will “regularly contribute observations, insights and suggestions” to the Bulls’ front office, with Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com (Twitter link) likening Collins’ new role to the one that Jerry West previously held with the Warriors — and now holds with the Clippers.

Collins, of course, began his NBA coaching career more than three decades ago for the Bulls. He was named Chicago’s head coach in 1986, and held that position until 1989. Collins later went on to coach the Pistons, Wizards, and Sixers, with his most recent coaching stint in Philadelphia coming to an end in 2013. He has served as an ESPN analyst in recent years.

Lakers Plan To Interview David Blatt

The Lakers plan to interview David Blatt for their coaching vacancy, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who writes within a story on the Warriors granting the Lakers permission to interview assistant Luke Walton. L.A. is also interested in Doug Collins, Stein reveals, additionally confirming the team’s interest in Kevin Ollie.

Blatt, the ex-Cavs coach, apparently met Monday with Knicks president Phil Jackson about New York’s coaching vacancy, and the Kings have reportedly reached out to him about their job, too. The 56-year-old Blatt has less than two seasons of NBA experience at any level, though he put up an 83-40 regular-season record with the Cavs, who fired him in January, just seven months after he coached them in the finals.

Collins, 64, has been an ESPN broadcaster since the end of his coaching stint with the Sixers in 2013. He’s 442-407 in parts of 11 seasons with the Bulls, Pistons and Wizards as well as Philadelphia.

The Lakers have strong interest in Ollie, Stein hears, and that appears to be mutual. The 43-year-old has never been an NBA coach but won an NCAA title at Connecticut and was an NBA player for 14 seasons, the last of which with Oklahoma City, where he was teammates with 2016 free agent Kevin Durant and 2017 free agent Russell Westbrook.

Jeff Van Gundy, Ettore Messina, Jeff Hornacek, Roy Williams, John Calipari, Jay Wright and Tom Izzo are others in whom the Lakers have interest, according to previous reports. The Lakers would like to make a hire before the draft and want their next coach to be able to attract marquee free agents, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News reported earlier this week and as Stein confirms.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Heslip, Kobe, Vujacic

It seems as though the top eight teams in the Western Conference are in many ways already set, but the Kings aren’t giving up on the idea that they can find a way into the playoffs this year, Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck writes. Sacramento will add an impact player if an opportunity arises, according to Beck.

“This league, it’s a league of injuries, it’s a league of things that happen, chemistry,” Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro told Beck. “And you’ve seen things happen really fast in this league. So I don’t think we buy into the notion of, ‘Well, it’s locked to eight.’ We really don’t believe that. From our perspective, it’s: How are we getting better? How are we pursuing that spot?”

The Kings are 13-18, four games behind the Suns for the last playoff spot. There’s another Kings-related item amid the latest from the Pacific Division:

  • Brady Heslip has decided against signing with Banvit of Turkey because he believes he’s close to joining an NBA team, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). David Pick of Eurobasket.com reported earlier this week that Heslip, who’s been playing for Sacramento’s D-League affiliate, had a deal with the Turkish team. The Kings and Clippers have reportedly held interest in adding the sharpshooter to their NBA rosters.
  • Kobe Bryant still doesn’t rule out playing beyond his current contract, which expires in 2016, but for now he plans to retire after next season, as he said Tuesday to reporters, including Bill Oram of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). “If you asked me if I’m going to play beyond that, right now the answer is no,” Bryant said.
  • Sasha Vujacic is leaving Laboral Kuxta Vitoria (aka Saski Baskonia) of Spain, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). He’s next headed to play for Turkey’s Istanbul BSB, Carchia writes. Vujacic, who spent time on a 10-day contract with the Clippers last season, is one of several among 2013/14 10-day signees who are now playing overseas, as I noted Tuesday.
  • Warriors backup center Marreese Speights said he was especially motivated to beat the Sixers, as Golden State did Tuesday, not because of anyone with the team at current but because he harbors ill will toward Doug Collins, tweets Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle. Speights saw a career low 11.5 minutes per game under the former Sixers coach in 2010/11.

Atlantic Notes: Love, Teletovic, Sixers, Raptors

While some rumors popped up last night suggesting that a Steve Nash trade between the Lakers and Raptors is a possiblity, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld is skeptical that such a deal is realistic. As Kyler notes (Twitter links), Toronto’s old regime had interest in Nash, having pursued him during the summer of 2012, but there hasn’t been any indication that the team’s new leadership group has that same level of interest.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Following up on Kevin Love‘s assertion that he “loves” New York City, Zach Braziller of the New York Post points out that Love will likely hit free agency in the summer of 2015, at the same time the Knicks will free up a ton of cap space.
  • Mirza Teletovic acknowledged to Bosnian newspaper Daily Azaz that the thought of returning to Europe has crossed his mind, but says he still hopes to succeed in the NBA with the Nets. NetsDaily has the details on Teletovic’s early-season frustrations.
  • Tom Ziller of SBNation.com argues that as long as the Sixers keep winning, there’s nothing GM Sam Hinkie can do. In Ziller’s view, Hinkie can’t and won’t seriously attempt to move veterans like Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes until the team starts to struggle.
  • League sources tell Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio that former coach Doug Collins may have been a reason that Andrew Bynum never wanted to be a Sixer.
  • Doug Smith of the Toronto Star answers a handful of Raptors-related questions in his latest mailbag.

Sixers Confirm Doug Collins Won’t Return

Doug Collins won't return as the Sixers' head coach next season, owner Josh Harris confirmed today, according to Michael Preston, the team's director of public relations (Twitter link). According to TNT's David Aldridge (Twitter link), Harris made it clear at the press conference that he wanted Collins to stay, and that it was the coach's decision to step down.

For Collins, it was his fourth head coaching stint that lasted three seasons or less. He also previously spent three years coaching the Pistons, three years coaching the Bulls, and two years coaching the Wizards. During his time in Philadelphia, he led the team to a 110-120 record, and a pair of playoff berths.

According to Harris, Collins will stay on as an advisor to the team (Twitter link via Jason Wolf of USA Today). However, stepping down will allow Collins to spend more time with his grandkids and help his son Chris, who will be the head coach at Northwestern, tweets Aldridge. Collins told reporters, including Aldridge that he decided back around Christmas that he would likely step down at season's end. Collins approached GM Tony DiLeo and president Rod Thorn about two months ago to try to determine an exit strategy (Twitter links).

DiLeo will remain in his role with the Sixers, and will work with ownership in selecting a new coach for the club, Harris confirmed (Twitter link via Aldridge). Collins said today that he'd like the team to consider assistant Michael Curry for the position (Twitter link via Tom Moore of PhillyBurbs.com). Back in February, we heard that Curry would be viewed as a legitimate long-term candidate if and when Collins stepped down.

Doug Collins Tells 76ers He Won’t Stay As Coach

TUESDAY, 7:12pm: According to ESPN's Marc Stein, a press release was issued earlier today from the office of John Langel, Collins' agent, that a deal was done to make Collins a "special consultant" with the Sixers.  Shortly after, however, another release was issued stating that the original was wrong (Twitter links).  This is curious to say the least, though it likely indicates that the two sides are discussing of some type of a buyout.

SUNDAY, 10:49pm: An amicable agreement is being pursued by both sides with possibilities ranging from a buyout to Collins staying on in a front office role, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.

SUNDAY, 9:17pm: Sixers coach Doug Collins has informed ownership that he will resign at season's end, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.  The 62-year-old has one year left on a four-year deal, but has told management he won't return in that role.  Collins' possible return to the franchise in another capacity, possibly something in the front office, hasn't been ruled out, according to a source.

Despite talk about his job security, ownership wanted him to return for the final season of a his deal that would've paid him $4.5MM, but Collins informed owner Josh Harris of his decision in recent days.

There could soon be space for Collins in the front office as president Rod Thorn is likely to move into a consultant's role at season's end and GM Tony DiLeo could be let go or have an ultimate decision-maker hired to preside over him.

The Sixers are 33-47, good for ninth place in the Eastern Conference.  It has been a trying year for Collins and the 76ers who were supposed to have Andrew Bynum in the middle and a real shot at challenging the elite teams in the East this season.  However, knee injuries sidelined the All-Star for the entire season, leaving the club with nothing to show for parting with Andre Iguodala, Nik Vucevic, and Moe Harkless.