76ers

Collins opts not to address future before Friday's game

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Collins opts not to address future before Friday's game

WASHINGTON -- Doug Collins is four games away from completing his third NBA season as head coach of the 76ers. Whether he returns for a fourth season has been a hot topic of discussion as the 2012-13 campaign winds down.

A story published in the Inquirer, citing league sources, claimed that the team “privately hopes that [Collins] decides not to return for the 2013-14 season.”

However, a source told CSNPhilly.com on Thursday that if Collins does not return to coach the Sixers next season, it won’t be because the Sixers want him out. The source said that the Sixers are completely supportive of Collins as he heads into the last season of his contract as the team's head coach (see story).  

Collins declined to discuss the matter prior to Friday night’s game against the Wizards.

“I am going to talk about the NBA, about Washington, so let’s move forward to the basketball game,” Collins said. “We have four more games to play. I have told you all along that I am not the topic of conversation. We are going to focus on the games. We are going to play those.

“We will sit down at the end of the season like I have always done. I have a wonderful relationship with [Sixers majority owner] Josh Harris and we will discuss what we need to do next year.”

If Collins does not want to return for the final year of his contract, Harris would not have to pay the 61-year-old the reportedly $4.5 million he stands to earn.

There is the possibility that the two sides agree to a settlement.

The Sixers’ season comes to a close on Wednesday in Indiana. Harris will be available the following day to discuss the team, the coach and what the future holds for the franchise.

Winless Suns fire head coach Earl Watson

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USA Today Images

Winless Suns fire head coach Earl Watson

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns have fired coach Earl Watson just three games in to the NBA season.

The Suns announced the firing Sunday night after hours of meetings at the team's headquarters.

Assistant coach Jay Triano, a former head coach of the Toronto Raptors, was named interim coach. Triano was an assistant at Portland before coming to Phoenix last year.

Watson was promoted from assistant to interim coach of the Suns after Jeff Hornacek was fired Feb. 1, 2016. The interim tag was removed on April 19 of that year. With an extremely young team, the Suns struggled under Watson. He compiled a 33-85 record. Watson's only full season was 2016-17, when the team went 24-58.

The 38-year-old Watson played collegiately at UCLA and in the NBA for 10 seasons. He often spoke of his long talks with John Wooden, emphasized togetherness and a family atmosphere to nurture the young squad but wins were hard to come by.

And owner Robert Sarver apparently didn't like what he saw. Phoenix is 0-3 and two of the losses were especially ugly. The Suns were blown out 124-76 by the Portland in their season opener Wednesday night, the most one-sided loss in franchise history and the most one-sided season opener for any NBA team.

Phoenix was routed by the Clippers in Los Angeles 130-88 on Saturday night.

"I Dont wanna be here," point guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted Sunday, just as the news of Watson's firing surfaced. The tweet by Bledsoe, a former Clipper, was followed by one from the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan saying "Come back home bro."

Bledsoe has been rumored in possible trades for months.

Watson's dismissal is the first NBA coaching change in well over a year. Hornacek's hiring by the New York Knicks, which was finalized in June 2016, had been the most recent change -- and the irony there is that Watson got the job in Phoenix with 33 games left in the 2015-16 season, after the Suns fired Hornacek.

Watson was the league's second-youngest active coach behind the Lakers' Luke Walton, and the Suns were tied with the Chicago Bulls as having the youngest opening-night roster in the NBA this season.

"I'd like to see the fight be a little bit more," Watson said after the blowout loss to the Clippers. "Or a lot more, until you know they're just fatigued."

The Suns came into this season with only four losses by 40 or more points in franchise history. They've had two in the first three games of this season. Phoenix has not made the playoffs in seven years, the longest drought in the franchise's 49-year history.

Watson was the 17th Suns coach in the franchise's history.

This was the first NBA season where every coach who started one year had the same job to begin the next.

Less than a week into 2017-18, that's no longer the case.

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for inappropriate comments toward fan during Sixers game

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AP Images

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for inappropriate comments toward fan during Sixers game

NEW YORK — The NBA has fined Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for responding to a fan with inappropriate language.

Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA' executive vice president of basketball operations, announced the fine Sunday.

Irving spoke to a fan at halftime of Boston's 102-92 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night (see story). 

The NBA fined Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins $25,000 for language he used toward a fan late in a loss to Memphis on Wednesday night in the season opener.