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NBA Philadelphia 76ers

Five Possible Replacements for Philadelphia 76ers Head Coach Doug Collins

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Five Possible Replacements for Doug Collins

Steve Mitchell -USA Today Sports

Since Andrew Bynum officially ruined the Philadelphia 76ers season and quite possibly the next few by undergoing season ending surgery on both knees and never suiting up for the team, there has not been much news to report.

At 33-47, the 76ers season has been a major disappointment and it has taken a toll on almost everyone. From ownership, to the fans, all the way down to head coach Doug Collins. Collins broke the news today that he will be stepping down at season’s end and walking away from the final year of his contract.

At this point, we do not know much else. We don’t know if he was forced out because the team wanted to go in a different direction rather than giving him an extension. We don’t know if he will go back to broadcasting, stay with the 76ers in a management position or even be on the bench somewhere else next season. His son Chris Collins just got hired as head coach at Northwestern; who knows if he would like to take the opportunity to coach with his son.

Or maybe at 62 years old, Collins just does not have the desire to go through a massively long rebuilding process. Unless Bynum makes a miraculous recovery and comes back to Philly, this team will not contend anytime soon. Maybe Collins just did not have the health or the will to work with young inexperienced players and fight just to make the playoffs.

Whatever the reason may be, it is all speculation. Who will the 76ers hire as their eighth head coach after the departure of Larry Brown in the end of the 2002-2003 season?

Here are five realistic candidates to replace the beloved Coach Collins.

Zach Slotter is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @zslot6, Like his Facebook page, or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Elston Turner

David Richard - USA Today Sports

Elston Turner has been an assistant coach in the NBA for many years, most recently with the Phoenix Suns. He was upset when he was not picked as the interim head coach following the firing of Alvin Gentry (the Suns instead opted to go with the inexperienced Lindsay Hunter). Turner is well respected and also currently available, leaving it as a possible option to finally get his shot at head coach.

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4. Avery Johnson

Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports

After a 14-14 start to this season, Avery Johnson was fired and replaced by assistant PJ Carlesimo. High expectation for the Brooklyn Nets led to Johnson's early dismissal, but this is a talented coach. Johnson became the youngest coach to reach 150 career wins and led the Dallas Mavericks to an NBA Finals appearance. Johnson might bite at the chance to square off against his former employer within the same division.

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3. Stan Van Gundy

Russ Isabella - USA Today Sports

Stan Van Gundy had a ton of success with the Orlando Magic, making the playoffs all five seasons, 3 division titles and one trip to the NBA Finals. He had a bit of a fallout with superstar Dwight Howard which in part led to his dismissal. Either way, his numbers do not lie and he knows how to ride a big man (hopefully Bynum) all the way to a title run. He knows how to tame a superstar and can control the young players on this roster.

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2. Brian Shaw

Nelson Chenault - USA Today Sports

How this man has not received a head coaching job yet is beyond me. He was an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers and many thought he was the heir to Phil Jackson. The Lakers spurned him by hiring Mike Brown and he has since gone over to work under Frank Vogel with the Indiana Pacers. The time has come for Brian Shaw to run the show and what better place to do so than a rebuilding project where he will be given the time to pick his players and implement his system.

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1. Michael Curry

Howard Smith - USA Today Sports

Who better to take the team over than the guy who has seen first hand what he has to work with. After being an assistant with the team the last three years, the Sixers were lucky to retain him this year. He was a finalist for the Magic job but after not getting that he decided to come back to work with Collins. Michael Curry already has a good relationship with the players and the front office and he knows who fits well in the long term plans for the team. He has past head coaching experience with the Detroit Pistons and he has what it takes to bring some life back into this city.