After working in Las Vegas, New York, Spain and Greece, a U.S. spy is now firmly planted in Istanbul.
Make that a 76ers spy.
While Sixers forward Andre Iguodala has been trotting the globe to land a spot on the U.S. team for the World Championships, a pair of eyes has been glued to his every move since workouts started a month ago in Las Vegas.
Chris Collins, who will enter his 10th season on Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski's staff, is part of the coaching group overseeing the collegiate players practicing against Iguodala and his U.S. teammates, who just happen to be coached by Krzyzewski. While Collins' main responsibility is to oversee his team's defensive play, he can't help but keep a close eye on someone who will be playing for his dad, Doug, this NBA season.
"Oh, my dad has been getting in touch with me every day asking how Andre's doing," Collins said. "He'll either call me, e-mail or text me. That's the way he is. He is on top of everything and very attentive to detail."
That trait is one of the reasons, if not the main reason, why the Sixers decided to hire Collins as their coach in May after firing Eddie Jordan, who led the team to a 27-55 record in his only season. Though Doug Collins just turned 59, his son doesn't see that as a red flag.
"He is just loaded with energy, and even more so when it comes to basketball," Chris said. "It was the right time for him to get back into coaching. He has always loved coaching. He and I have such a close relationship and he's been so helpful to me in my career. His knowledge of the game is incredibly high. His ability to relate to players is terrific, and he can teach the game as well as anyone."
Chris might be a spy, but his mission is no secret.
"He is keeping an eye on me and reporting back to his dad about what's going on," Iguodala said. "And that's all cool, because I've been able to talk to him about his dad, and it's made me look even more forward to the upcoming season. I can't wait to get started."
Neither can Doug Collins. The last time he coached was in 2003 with the Washington Wizards. Since then, he has been one of the best NBA television analysts, working for TNT. His name always surfaced when a head-coaching position opened, but this job, in the town where he played all eight of his NBA seasons, was the right fit at the right time.
"The fact that my sister [Kelly] and her family live near Philadelphia, and that it is a city where he was drafted and played and where he still has so many friends, that all came into play when my dad decided to take the job," Chris said. "There really was only two teams that he would have gone to, I think, and that was the Bulls and the Sixers."
Doug Collins' visits to Duke will have to be put on hold for a while since he certainly has his plate full in trying to turn around the team. The reduction won't cut into their communication much, though. There will be phone calls, e-mails and texts, just like during this World Championship process.
"The main topic of conversation between me and my dad since the beginning of workouts for this team has been about Andre," Chris said. "I've kept a very close eye on him, and he's really been impressive. I know my dad's talked to him about being one of the best defensive players in the league, and you can see that he can be. His overall game is great. He can do it all - defend, pass, go to the basket, block shots, get out on the fastbreak. He has been one of the best players on the team."
One thing Chris Collins didn't mention was Iguodala's shooting, something he hasn't done much of on a team filled with NBA stars. But as the team traveled to Greece for its final exhibition tuneup before the championships begin in Turkey this weekend, Iguodala and Chris Collins made their way to a gym, so Iguodala could get in some extra shooting as teammates got ready to go to dinner.
No doubt that Chris reported to dad afterward how it went. *