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Knicks owner Dolan meets with Larry Brown

7/24/2005 - NBA New York Knicks

NEW YORK -- Knicks owner James Dolan of Cablevision met
Sunday night with prospective coach Larry Brown, who had wanted to
speak first with interim coach Herb Williams.
The visit to Brown's home in East Hampton, N.Y., by Dolan and
team president Isiah Thomas represented the next step in the
Knicks' wooing of Brown, a pursuit that figures to draw to a
conclusion in the next few days.
"I'm not going to comment on how it went," Brown said
afterward.
The Knicks had not formally offered the job to Brown as of
Saturday, but the implied message from Thomas was clear: The job is
Brown's if he wants it.
Brown had said he wanted to speak to Williams before speaking to
Dolan, but Williams was out of town for the weekend and Dolan was
in the Hamptons. Those logistics made Dolan the second Knicks
official to get a private audience with Brown.
"We're going to go to dinner tomorrow somewhere in New York
with Herb Williams," Brown told The Associated Press in a
telephone interview. "It's important for me to talk to him."
Williams, who has been asked by the Knicks to stay publicly
silent, did not return a call to his cell phone.
Williams has been accepting of his tenuous job status throughout
the spring and summer, first when the Knicks made a pitch to Phil
Jackson, and now during their serenading of Brown.
Williams spent 18 years in the NBA, including seven with the
Knicks, and was one of New York's captains the last time the
franchise reached the NBA Finals in 1999. He coached the Knicks for
the final 43 games last season after Lenny Wilkens was forced to
resign.
The first time Brown spent any quality time with Williams was
last summer at a clinic in Memphis that Brown conducts annually to
help find assistant coaching jobs for his many friends in the
business.
"Everybody I've ever talked to thinks the world of him," said
Brown, who recalled first crossing paths with Williams in 1980 when
Brown, coaching UCLA, defeated Williams' Ohio State team.
Brown met with Thomas on Thursday night, then spent parts of the
next few days discussing the pros and cons of coaching the Knicks
with his wife, Shelly, and his young children, T.J. and Madison.
Brown said health problems related to his bladder will not
prohibit him from coaching, and he has tried to assure his wife
that he'll get the rest his doctors have been ordering during the
months of August and September before training camp opens.
First, of course, the Knicks would have to formally offer the
job and then work out contract details with Brown's agent. And
before Dolan offers a contract, he wanted a face-to-face reading
with the nomadic coach who parted acrimoniously with his last two
owners -- Detroit's Bill Davidson and Philadelphia's Ed Snider.
Dolan has signed the paychecks of Williams, Wilkens, Don Chaney
and Jeff Van Gundy during his tenure as head of the team's
ownership group.
Each of those coaches had varying levels of comfort or
discomfort with Dolan, and Brown's lasting impression from their
Sunday night meeting should go a long way toward determining
whether the process of trying to hire him will continue moving
forward.
"A lot will happen when I talk with Herb, then Mr. Dolan,"
Brown said Saturday.
Turns out it was Mr. Dolan, then Herb.
Brown said he had no problem with speaking to Dolan before
Williams.
"It just so happened that Mr. Dolan was in the Hamptons for the
weekend," said Brown, whose house was staked out by television
crews, photographers and reporters.
Brown said he was angered Sunday night when a television crew
rang his doorbell after Dolan and Thomas had left.