After three years under Doug Collins, who seemingly has reached the end of his head coaching career, it appears the Sixers are now looking for someone ready to begin one.

According to sources, Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Malone is high on the Sixers' list to replace Collins as head coach, as is Indiana Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw.

Some background:

When the Sixers' search for Eddie Jordan's replacement took place in the spring of 2010, the list included Jeff Van Gundy, Dwane Casey, Tom Thibodeau, Monty Williams and Mark Jackson. On a list of dark horse candidates was Malone, then an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers under Mike Brown.

Fast forward to 2013 and look where those past candidates are. Van Gundy has remained in the broadcast booth, where he likely will stay. Casey became head coach of the Toronto Raptors. Thibodeau, after 18 years as an assistant coach, landed with the Bulls. Williams is head coach of New Orleans, and Jackson jumped from the broadcast booth to the sideline as head coach of the Golden State Warriors.

Malone, 43, did not land a head-coaching job but did go with Williams to New Orleans, where he showed his defensive-minded talents, helping the Hornets finish fifth in fewest points allowed his lone season on that staff.

The following summer Malone, whose father Brendan was an NBA coach in Toronto and Cleveland, interviewed for the head-coaching position in Houston and Golden State. When he did not get hired at either place, Jackson asked him to be his lead assistant with the Warriors, a plan Jackson had long had in mind because he had that much respect for Malone’s knowledge and commitment to the game.

In their two years in Northern California, the Jackson-Malone tandem took a 23-43 team their first year and turned it into a 47-35 team this season.

Tuesday night the Warriors did the unlikely. After losing all-star David Lee to a torn hip flexor, they evened their series with the Denver Nuggets, 1-1. Jackson was being hailed postgame for going with a three-guard lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Jarret Jack; the trio combined for 77 points, 22 assists and 11 rebounds.

Jackson has made a seamless transition from describing the action to walking the sideline. And Malone has been sitting next to him all along.