Sports Outside the Beltway

New York Knicks fire Larry Brown

From AP

NEW YORK – The New York Knicks put Larry Brown out of his coaching misery Thursday, ending weeks of uncertainty by firing the Hall of Fame coach with four years and a reported $40 million left on his contract. President and general manager Isiah Thomas will replace Brown as coach.

In Brown’s one season in New York, the Knicks stumbled to a 23-59 record — second worst in the NBA and matching the most losses in club history — while Brown publicly feuded with Stephon Marbury and other players.


It’s the second straight ugly ending for Brown, who was bought out by the Pistons last season despite leading Detroit to the NBA finals, winning one title, in both of his seasons there.

The Knicks then gave the Brooklyn native what he called his “dream job” with hopes that he could return his hometown team to the playoffs. But despite a league-high payroll of more than $120 million, the result was perhaps the most embarrassing season in franchise history.

Brown, who missed three games in April because of illness, had only one worse season as a coach, when he went 21-61 with the San Antonio Spurs in 1988-89.

The bickering with Marbury — a favorite of Thomas and Dolan — just added to the chaos. Brown and Marbury clashed when Brown coached the U.S. team in the 2004 Olympics, and the relationship was closely watched from the moment Brown arrived in New York.

In March, Marbury vowed to play more aggressively next season, because playing Brown’s way wasn’t leading to enough wins. Brown fired back that Marbury already had enough freedom and should do what was best for the team, and the back-and-forth continued for four days before Brown pulled Marbury aside to settle it.

Other players said they were confused about their roles with the team, as Brown used more than 40 different starting lineups, easily the most in the league. Thomas acquired Steve Francis and Jalen Rose during the season, but neither made much impact.


Thomas becomes the Knicks’ fifth coach in the last five years. Jeff Van Gundy left early in the 2001-02 season and has been followed by Don Chaney, Lenny Wilkens and Herb Williams before Brown.

Brown coached the Pistons to the NBA title in the 2003-04 season. He missed 17 games the following year with the Pistons because of hip replacement surgery. That led to a bladder problem that required surgery.

Brown is 1,010-800 in 23 seasons as an NBA coach, making previous stops in Denver, New Jersey, San Antonio, the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana, Philadelphia and Detroit. He also coached four seasons in the ABA and won a national championship with Kansas in 1988.

Larry Brown’s firing doesn’t surprise me. The Knicks aren’t well run and the management has little patience. Last year was a disaster for the team on the court. Off the court looks little better after what the Knicks shelled out for Brown.

Brown on the other hand tends to wear out his welcome where ever he works.(Similiar to the late Billy Martin in baseball without half the drama) but almost always produced results I’m not a big basketball fan, but I had a feeling this wouldn’t be a long-term arrangement.

Some team will land Brown before the next NBA season is half over. You heard it here first.

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Indeed, I’d be surprised if he weren’t coaching somewhere at the start of the season.

Posted by James Joyner | June 22, 2006 | 03:24 pm | Permalink

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