Search De-Brief Scoop: Brown’s Buyout not Surprising

ESPN is reporting that Larry Brown’s dream job may end after one season with the New York Knicks.

Surprise, surprise. 🙂

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:

We’ll just throw this out as something that maybe we come back to in the future. We’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 doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put together — 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. Lowe’s presence would also help mitigate “short term‿ 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.

More comments:

* 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.

About StateFans

'StateFansNation' is the shared profile used by any/all of the dozen or so authors that contribute to the blog. You may not always agree with us, but you will have little doubt about where we stand on most issues. Please follow us on Twitter and FaceBook

General NCS Basketball

49 Responses to Search De-Brief Scoop: Brown’s Buyout not Surprising

  1. BJD95 05/14/2006 at 2:19 PM #

    I would have killed to see Larry Brown exact revenge on Dick Baddour for 3 years, to be followed by the Lowe era. But I’m also completely satisfied with the Lowe era starting right away.

    And it would have been quite a burden on presumptive #2 assistant Phil Ford to handle so much recruiting on his own.

  2. Cardiff Giant 05/14/2006 at 2:35 PM #

    Dear me. That is an AWFUL lot of money.

  3. Wulfpack 05/14/2006 at 3:24 PM #

    Brown is a vagabond. I have no idea why so many consider him a “great coach”. If Flip Saunders wins one in Detroit, is he suddenly a “great coach”? Brown has consistently failed. He’s a grumpy old man that would be better served selling ice cream cones.

  4. StateFans 05/14/2006 at 4:12 PM #

    ^ You have no idea why so many consider him a great coach because he is a vagabond?

    What relationship do those two things have in common?

    If Brown has “consistently failed”, I would love to have seen NC State Basketball “consistently fail” at his level.

    Your obvious disdain for him seems to have encroached on your ability to judge his performance with objectivity.

  5. Wulfpack 05/14/2006 at 4:32 PM #

    He is constantly leaving teams. He can’t commit to anything. He rags on all of his players and is never satisfied. Guys can’t stand to play for him. He stays in Detroit two seasons, wins the title, and says see-ya-later for the NY Knicks? Does that spell greed? Stupidity?

    He did such a poor job this year that now the Knicks are considering firing him after one horrific year? He’s coached in the NBA 29 years and has one title to show. Eight different stops in the NBA. This should be the last one. I wouldn’t hire him to coach my team in a million years.

    .558 all-time win %…dips to .520 in the playoffs. Mediocre in my mind. Sorry to offend you but this guy has no idea what in the hell he is doing.

  6. tractor57 05/14/2006 at 4:42 PM #

    I’ve followed LB since he was the coach of the Carolina Cougars in the late ’70’s. I wouldn’t characterize his coaching results as mediocre but I admit to having some great concerns when his name was mentioned earlier. With some careful restrictions on his more negative aspects and with the understanding that a “coach in waiting” was to be included in the deal I thought it might have a chance to work.
    You can point to the implosion of the Knicks this year but also you have to admit that a lot of that was in the player personnel the Kincks have foolishly paid loads of money for.
    He wouldn’t be my choice but the idea did have some merit – especially when compared to what happened at State for the last 10 years.

  7. StateFans 05/14/2006 at 5:15 PM #

    Don’t disagree with a lot of your comments. But:

    1 World Championship in NBA
    1 National Championship
    2 National Championship games with 2 different teams

    and a history of taking over previously struggling franchises and ultimately turning more of them around than not aren’t mediocre results

  8. Hawkeye Whitney 05/14/2006 at 5:55 PM #

    Much, Much happier with what has transpired than any deal that would have included Brown. The “Carolina flavor” wouldn’t have been tolerated for more than a season or two unless State had amazing success.

  9. vtpackfan 05/14/2006 at 6:24 PM #

    The team in which he is the coach of know is one of the worst that ever suited up in the NBA. The fact’s that LB was the coach and they played in MSG made the media go crazy. If the played somewhere else no one would have noticed a thing until the Draft. I’m not trying to defend LB, just state the facts that no one could have coached a team w/ Jalen Rose, Stephan Marbury, and Mo Taylor the veteran’s leading an And 1 all-star team.

  10. StateFans 05/14/2006 at 6:39 PM #

    Just to clarify – we are glad that this is a risk that State didn’t end up taking. But, it is interesting to discuss, nonetheless.

  11. vtpackfan 05/14/2006 at 7:47 PM #

    You have to admit that when you look at a guy like LB you can’t just say his winning % was X and he won X amount of championships. He has the basketball intagibles that seperate him from many of his peers. His teams historically play terrific D. Just look at what the Sixers have done since he left their team. Allen Iverson used to be one of the toughest defenders at his position. He lives basketball and it shows in how much his private comments w/team, GM’s ect., play out in the public. It would have crazier then any name that could have been announced as the next coach at State, which is why I’m thankful that the site adm. used some restraint. What a great story it would make if the guy that UNX Alum Larry Brown recommended for the job ended up helping State turning the tables, or atleast pull equal with its rivals.

  12. tractor57 05/14/2006 at 7:54 PM #

    Over the years I have been very impressed with Brown’s teams (other than the most recent mess in NY). As the coach for the Carolina Cougars he had a 4 guard rotation that was very good at the up tempo game, and there were really 4 starters. If Carolina had an inside game equal to the guard play they would have been the class of the ABA, the Indiana and Kentucky teams not withstanding. As a coach I have always been impressed with his tactics and his ability to get the most from a team. On the other hand, his “wonderlust” and a trail of NCAA problems and his age/health are certainly issues that are more than minor. Then there is the whole Carolina issue.
    As things have turned out I think State is better served without Brown but not on pure “coaching” issues.

  13. old13 05/14/2006 at 8:41 PM #

    The fact that Foulup was even talking to LB tells me that he still doesn’t get it (after, what, six years at NCSU!) While LB is obviously a great coach, he is 1) well on the downhill side of his career, 2) more in tune with NBA HCing than NCAA, and 3) (MOST IMPORTANT!) once wore the baby blue. I like what we’ve gotten, especially looking at Lowe’s staff! LF needs to take a hike as his track record at NCSU is terrible!

  14. ncsu96 05/14/2006 at 9:41 PM #

    thanks for the scoop once again.

    It seems hard to believe that Brown would be interested in returning to college game at this point in his career. what was his real level of interest?
    For the record DT is very positve of Brown in his autobiograpy; Brown coach DT for a while at the Nuggets.

    It is very good to hear more compliments to Sid. There was an N&O article a while back where Joe Dumars complimented him as well.

    Fowler definitely made the right choice in the end.

  15. wayofthemaster 05/14/2006 at 11:11 PM #

    In retrospect it is interesting to look back and ask yourself this question. Who would you rather have Steve Lavin, John Beilein, or Larry Brown. I’d take Brown with all the baggage…thank you very much.

  16. NeverGiveUp 05/14/2006 at 11:13 PM #

    Please give us the de-brief on Mike Montgomery that you mentioned.

  17. PACDADDY 05/14/2006 at 11:34 PM #

    What a great read…thanks!

  18. Mike 05/15/2006 at 12:09 AM #

    Very interesting stuff, thanks once again guys. I am thrilled we did not end up with LB, no matter his college success. I think we ended up wiht the right guy.

    Now, on a related note I read the other day, but had nowhere to comment since it was off topic. The Kings fired their coach this past week, Rick Adelman after 8, yes, count them 8 winning seasons in a row and 8 playoff appearences in a row! How could they fire a guy who went to the playoffs 8 years in a row? Maybe because someone finally figured out just going to the playoffs was not good enough – someone actually wanted to win the playoff games. Oh yeah, and I remember all the Herb backers saying teams in the NBA run the offense, especially the Kings, like that was a good thing. I guess now we see what that gets in the NBA. I hate the NBA, could care less about the NBA, but interesting nonetheless.

  19. StateFans 05/15/2006 at 6:24 AM #

    The fact that Foulup was even talking to LB tells me that he still doesn’t get it (after, what, six years at NCSU!)

    We obviously have no problem criticizing Fowler, but don’t think that he deserves it in this situation. Understand your points regarding Carolina — but isn’t every situation worth an initial exploration? If you don’t think LB was right, then its hard to criticize Fowler since his actions indicate that he agreed with you.

  20. class of 74 05/15/2006 at 6:47 AM #

    First of all kudos for the tremendous reporting. I’ve seen nothing like this anywhere. This is why this site is head and shoulders above all others for the real scoop on NCSU.

    As I was coming in this morning WPTF’s Kevin Miller had LF on the radio talking about the search. In short it was sickening. LF explained he learned how to conduct a search from someone who heads a search firm, therefore he did not feel the need to involve such a firm. He could have said he recently stayed at a Holiday Inn Express and it would have made as much sense. So I’m listening to our esteemed AD as he blathers on about his exploits and Kevin asks Lee, sometime this fall, to host the post game show with him. LF chimes in “well you know me I’m never at a loss for words.” Yeah, and that’s the half of your problem Lee. You speak when you should listen.

    Frankly LF dodged a bullet, if he had hired Brown a large segment of the fanbase would have revolted! Spin it anyway you wish, but it would have been a program killer if the selection had moved in that direction. We are fortunate Mr. “I know basketball” and “we don’t need no stinking search firm” did not screw this up any worse than it eventually turned out.

  21. Wulfpack 05/15/2006 at 7:54 AM #

    Brown would have been here no more than 3 years and he would be on to yet another one of his journeys. This guy has absolutely no loyalty to anyone. The fact that he’d even look at this job simply proves the point.

  22. StateFans 05/15/2006 at 8:07 AM #

    ^ Which is exactly why we suggested hiring Sidney Lowe as his lead assistant.

  23. RickJ 05/15/2006 at 8:14 AM #

    Does anybody remember when Larry Brown was head coach at Davidson for a couple of months (not sure about this time period but he never coached a game for them)? The story I always heard from Davidson folks was that his entire recruiting class was rejected by the admissions department and he resigned.

    For me, Lefty Driesell’s coaching job at Davidson ranks as the single most impressive of all time. For those too young to remember, Lefty made Davidson a Top 10 program. They had absolutely no tradition and extremely tough academic standards. They almost immediately went back to their place in the pecking order after he left Davidson for Maryland.

  24. rt24pack 05/15/2006 at 8:20 AM #

    SFN you guys are usually on the mark. Brown had called LF because word got out in the coaching world that he had advised Cal not to take the job. Brown has been a mentor to Cal in the past. Brown did not want it to look like he was interferring with our search so he called Fowler. Larry Brown would have been a horrible choice for us. The last two colleges he coached, he also placed them on NCAA probation. Plus he does not stay anywhere for very long. He did not ever consider our job. All he did was advise Cal not to take the job. This is not speculation, it happened.

    SFN: This is good info. I wonder how it times itself with the meeting that Fowler and his small vetting committee had with Larry Brown in a private meeting at the Carolina Country Club? This is not speculation, it happened.

  25. TomA 05/15/2006 at 8:30 AM #

    Here is a great point to be made about how LF cannot even follow his own guidelines while searching for a coach. He says that any coach he hires must be clean yet considers LB. LB is nothing more than Tark the Shark with a more fawning press. His UCLA Final Four is now wiped from the books because of NCAA probation/violations and many people forget how close Kansas came to having its championship stripped once again due to violations committed while LB was coach…remember his press conference where he says he WILL NOT LEAVE KANSAS but as sson as the NCAA posse comes he escapes out of town. LB in no way should have been given consideration to coacj NCSU because the last thing anyony should want is the NCAA coming to Raleigh again. It’s time to stop allowing this LB love fest to continue without reminding everyone that he also represents the worst of college basketball.

Leave a Reply