The saga of the offseason’s most curious move, Larry Brown’s coaching journey from the Pistons to the Knicks, has been unraveled.
The full story has been pieced together thanks to some terrific legwork by Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, who tracked the story for five months.
According to McCosky, the Brown-Pistons partnership was severed long before the monthlong haggling over a buyout in July.
In effect, Pistons owner Bill Davidson appeared to become fed up with Brown around mid-January, when Brown started flirting with the idea of coaching the Knicks and worrying publicly about his health. Davidson (who wondered if Brown’s health problems really were so serious) knew he wanted to go in another direction.
And deep in Brown’s heart, he knew that after taking this team to the championship in 2004, his work was essentially done and he would need to seek a new challenge.
Brown also knew well before the end of the season that he had lost Davidson’s support and had no shot of returning for a third season.
Brown wanted to be fired, so he could recoup at least some of the $18 million he had coming from his five-year deal.
The Pistons were claiming that Brown had to quit because of medical problems, which would have essentially allowed them to void the contract.
In the end, Brown got a $7 million buyout from the Pistons and is getting paid $11 million to coach the Knicks this year. Do the math; he got his $18 million. Plus, another four years at $11 million per year on top of that.
And, miracle of miracles, he now claims to be in relatively good health and expects to coach the full season without interruption, something he could never guarantee the Pistons.
Now, here’s the really good stuff:
The reports of Browns’ dalliance with the Cleveland Cavaliers and owner Dan Gilbert during the playoffs last season seemed outrageous. The reports were true, and Brown was ripped in the media.
Yet, according to McCosky, it was the Pistons who helped facilitate that partnership between Brown and Gilbert, and it was the Pistons who ultimately exposed it to the media.
The Pistons were looking for a non-coaching option for Brown, in case his health issues forced him off the bench. So they put the two together to explore future options, in case Brown had to leave coaching.
On the surface, that seemed like a good-hearted offer. But later, a Pistons official leaked the news of the dalliance to the New York Times.
So what seemed like a goodfaith gesture to Brown was in reality a setup, a way to besmirch his character and soothe any public relations clamor over firing a coach who took the team to the Finals two straight years, McCosky reported.
HE’S A THINKER
Here’s an idea that will help people, both players and fans, who struggle with math.
Gary McManus, 49, of Medina, Ohio, had shared the concept with his family and friends for years. He finally got the opportunity to put the idea in motion when the Cavaliers established a Web site called greatideascavs.com over the summer
Thus, "The Diff" was born. Four high-resolution screens highlight the Cavaliers’ new 28-foot scoreboard. There’s a 24-second shot clock on the scoreboard and under the clock is "The Diff," which displays the score differential for the home team.
"Whenever you watch a basketball game, the score changes so much that you’re always doing minor math in your head on whether your team is up or down," McManus said.
"Not only does it help the fans but it helps the players who may look up at the scoreboard during the final stages of the game and depending on the difference in the score, they can decide what type of shot they’d want to take."
LAP OF LUXURY
The Bucks are creating a new luxury seating area that will accommodate 90 fans.
A subscription to the club will include a seat for all 41 Bucks home games; an hors d’oeuvre buffet and dessert; beer, wine and soft drinks; concierge service and other game-day services.
A season subscription is $4,100, which in New York would not even get you three courtside tickets to a single game.
Hornets owner George Shinn bought a house in Oklahoma City, but he insists he remains committed to returning to New Orleans and helping the city rebuild.
Interestingly, the Hornets are hinting that three late-season games scheduled for Baton Rouge might be moved to New Orleans if repairs are complete and the infrastructure in place.
Here are some notes on ex-Suns.
• In Sixer-land, Steven Hunter is viewed as promising but appears to be continually struggling at the offensive end.
• For the Hornets, Maciej Lampe will get some minutes at backup center while Jackson Vroman will pick up minutes at backup power forward.
- This report includes information from league sources, wire services and writers from around the country.