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76ers assistant Brian James leaving to take job at Northwestern

Sixers assistant coach Brian James will join the Northwestern University coaching staff of Chris Collins very soon after the NBA regular season ends on Wednesday, according to multiple sources.

James was the high school coach of Collins, who is the son of Sixers head coach Doug Collins.

This impending move is another indication that Doug Collins will not return to coach the final year on his contract with the Sixers, although that cannot yet be confirmed. James has been his right-hand assistant previously in Detroit and Washington, as well as serving stints with Milwaukee and Toronto as an assistant coach and Seattle as an advance scout when Collins was out of coaching.

The Sixers coach has maintained that he hasn't decided yet if he wants to be back for the 2013-14 season. As recently as two weeks ago, he termed it "50-50." With James about to accept another job, those odds appear to have tilted heavily in one direction.

Chris Collins was hired by Northwestern on March 27 to replace Bill Carmody, who coached the Wildcats for 13 seasons without an NCAA tournament appearance. Collins played for Duke from 1993 to 1996 and had been an assistant and then associate head coach to Mike Krzyzewski since 2000.

The younger Collins grew up in suburban Chicago and played for James at Glenbrook North, winning McDonald's All-American and Illinois' Mr. Basketball titles. Doug Collins first hired James for his Detroit Pistons staff in 1995. James did not return a phone message seeking comment Saturday.

The Sixers' season ends Wednesday in Indianapolis. They play their final home game Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center. The season has been a wearying disappointment for Doug Collins and the whole organization, and it would be understandable if both the coach and the front office thought he wasn't the right fit for what appears to be an arduous and long rebuilding process.

Last week, league sources indicated the Sixers were privately saying that they were not willing to extend Collins' contract past 2013-14 and that the organization would be relieved if he stepped down.

It could be that, suspecting strongly Collins will leave, the Sixers have no taste for the role of jilted lover and prefer to make it seem the parting is their idea.

Collins is the one making the decision, however, and, according to well-placed sources, his staff is already beginning to scatter.

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