Business as usual for Sixers head coach Collins


Seeing Doug Collins at the Sixers practice facility was a site for sore eyes given that the NBA lockout is more than two months old and counting.

But unlike watching him work with his players as he did last season, his first as head coach of the franchise, Collins was hauled up in his office along with his staff.

We have to be prepared, Collins said. So we take this time about 10 days and sit down and go over last year and get our thoughts together. We go over a lot of tape of things we did on the floor that we liked. We have a priority in teaching. The interesting thing is that this gets the juices flowing. You sit up there and start talking basketball and its good to see everybody.

Well, not everybody.

Collins hasnt seen any of his players since June 30, the night before the lockout was imposed. With the lockout came new rules that Collins struggles to abide by. The passionate coach, who excels at communicating, is extremely cautious these days because the rules prevent him from speaking freely about his players, free agents or even the Sixers new ownership.

We have to be so careful at this point and time, Collins explained. We have to make sure that we dont violate anything we arent supposed to say. I know from your standpoint its hard to do this interview with me and from my standpoint make sure I dont say anything I am not supposed to say.

NBA staffers are not permitted to utter any players name, from their team or any other. Fines are handed out to those that violate the gag order. As for the teams new ownership, until the NBA Board of Governors officially approves the sale, that too is an off-limits topic.

The good news is the new ownership is expected to be made official Thursday, reducing Collins off-limits list by one.

Collins training camp preparation will continue Monday after he spends the weekend in Durham, N.C. where his wife Kathy is currently visiting their son Chris and his family. Twice in the last two months, Collins daughter Kelly, her husband Paul and their two young boys flew to San Diego where Collins and Kathy were relaxing. One of his summer favorites from both visits was going to the driving range with his four-year-old grandson Cooper, who is said to have a heck of a swing, which he perfected watching the golf channel over the years.

I have had a great vacation, Collins said. It is a little bit different this year because it was the first year I had coached in about six or seven years. The summer for me as a broadcaster was never as vital in terms of getting away and vacationing because I really only worked one day a week except during the playoffs when I did 40 games in 40 nights, so from my standpoint this time after the draft you are talking July 1st. So it was two great months for me.

The great months may continue to add up for the coach and others if a new collective bargaining agreement isnt reached soon. Tuesday the league and NBA Players Association will meet again, their third encounter in less than a week. The upcoming meeting is said to include more participants on both sides.

I am an optimistic guy, Collins said when contemplating if a resolution is on the NBAs horizon. I have always felt that good things were going to happen. At the end of the day I think we have very intelligent people. I am always optimistic about things.

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