ESPN is reporting that Larry Brown’s dream job may end after one season with the New York Knicks.
Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan, who’s upset over Brown’s record and the coach’s public criticism of his players, is considering buying out the final four years of the coach’s contract, the New York Daily News and New York Post reported in Sunday’s editions.
The buyout is worth at least $40 million, the newspaper reported. The Knicks declined to comment.
One published report indicated Knicks president Isiah Thomas was in line to replace Brown as head coach, the newspaper said, but the team would not confirm nor deny it.
Brown, who led the Knicks to a 23-59 season, has indicated that he will not resign. But the club could avoid having to pay another coach upward of $5 million a year if Thomas takes the job, the Daily News reported. One source told the newspaper that Thomas — who coached the Pacers from 2000-2003 — would be amenable to coaching the Knicks.
We received a lot of praise from a lot of fans during our month long coverage of the NC State coaching search. Some of the praise that we appreciated the most came from people close to the search who were surprised not just at the information that we had, but who were pleased with the way that we chose to show restraint on much of our information. (Too bad Lee Fowler doesn’t get it). We worked hard to analyze as much as we could while choosing not to discuss sensitive scoop until after the news had moved out of ‘high risk’ territory.
Since the search, we have been slow to ‘debrief’ as we promised because – like many Wolfpackers – we are trying to make up for lost time with our jobs, or families, and our other responsibilities.
But today’s news regarding Brown provides us a perfect opportunity to jump into the mix and share a little information with you that is harmless to share at this point.
We ask you to take a look at our Coaching Search comments on May 2nd, two days before Lowe emerged in public as the Wolfpack’s choice. On May 2nd, we stated:
Weâ€™ll just throw this out as something that maybe we come back to in the future. Weâ€™ve know some names that were being discussed in Raleigh last week that are not prudent to share with the public at this juncture. It doesnâ€™t take a rocket scientist to put together â€” but a particular big name would be much easier to sell to NC State fans (and recruits) if Sidney Lowe was riding shotgun as the #1 assistant on the bench. Such a role would help Lowe evolve into a better head coach in the future and provide him valuable time of getting acclimated to college basketball. Loweâ€™s presence would also help mitigate â€œshort termâ€¿ risk that may exist with any potential candidates. It is just something that needs to be considered by the powers that be. We would consider such a team a home run.
The conversation that ensued in our comments section was an interesting one. Lots of people with lots of interesting and insightful thoughts.
The truth of the matter is that when we ran those comments, we were referring to later-stage conversations that Lee Fowler and NC State were simultaneously having with Larry Brown and Sidney Lowe.
In fact, after the Beilein & Lavin debacle on April 26th, Lee Fowler’s attention was focused exclusively and immediately on Larry Brown and Sidney Lowe. Each candidate had detailed conversations (call it an ‘interview’ if you want) with State on Thurs/Fri Apri 27th/28th.
As you can see from the linked ESPN article – Brown’s contractual buyout in New York could be as large as $40 million. There is NO WAY that he would simply resign and give up that kind of future payout. The Knicks have prudently waited until the State job (and other jobs) have been filled in the hopes that Brown would make a jump on his own. (Can you say – Mike Montgomery? We’ll discuss that more in the future.)
So, if State had wanted to pursue Brown, Fowler would still be flailing around without a coach and most certainly have experienced a complete implosion of the program with assured defections of existing players and recruits that we now have the opportunity to salvage. Not an option.
In the end, Brown was extremely complimentary of Sidney Lowe. In fact, Brown’s glowing comments of Lowe played a major role in bringing some doubters into the Lowe camp. Sidney’s articulate conversations with key figures had already helped ease concerns about his degree situation, and Brown’s comments helped ease other concerns. Brown advised Fowler/State to completely ignore Lowe’s overall record in the NBA because of the horrible state of the franchises that Lowe inherited. He also informed that Lowe is known in the NBA as an excellent x-and-o tactician who even runs the Pistons’ practices on a daily basis.
* During his conversations with State, Brown took the opportunity to promote his assistant, Phil Ford as a perfect candidate for the job. (Do some of the Phil Ford ‘discussions’ now come into clearer view for you?)
* We know nothing about conversations related to the kind of staff that Brown would have proposed to have constructed in Raleigh. Obviously, the potential “Carolina flavor” of such a staff could have been an issue.
* Of course there would have been significant risks with potential hiring of Larry Brown, but SFN would have drolled over the thought of Brown running the show in Raleigh for a few years IF it was all put together with some strategic thought. Brown is one of the ten best college basketball coaches in the world and would have been worth the gamble if NC State was able to think proactively and construct some mechanisms to innovatively mitigate those risks. If Sidney Lowe would have accompanied Brown as a very prominent #1 assistant (as we commented on May 2nd), a lot of the “Carolina” risk and “succeession” would have been mitigated.
* Brown doesn’t want to recruit. He’s too old and it just doesn’t fit him. Although we all think Sidney Lowe is going to be a super recruiter in the future, he is not one now. This would have left a big hole on a hypothetical staff and may have created a lot of short-term risk.