NEW YORK -- Pretty soon, Larry Brown will pick up the phone
and tell Isiah Thomas one of two things: "I'll take it," or "No
From all indications, the former is a prohibitive favorite over
One of the final steps in the Knicks' courtship of the
64-year-old unemployed coach took place Monday night when Brown had
dinner with Herb Williams, the interim coach whose job Brown would
None of the principals commented on the meeting.
If Brown decides to take the job, he'll hand the task of
negotiating the contract over to longtime agent Joe Glass.
"If I get involved, it'll be a go," Glass said Monday.
The New York Daily News reported Tuesday that Glass has already
had some discussions with Thomas, with the Knicks expected to offer
Brown a five-year contract worth between $50 million and $60
Unclear is which of the current assistant coaches will remain
with the club, and whether any of Brown's assistants who also lost
their jobs in Detroit, including Gar Heard and Dave Hanners, might
Williams' head coaching contract expires Sunday, but his
assistant coaching contract has another year left. His dinner with
Brown came one day after owner James Dolan and Thomas spent more
than two hours visiting Brown at his home in East Hampton, N.Y.
"Situations are always going to work out," Williams told
WNBC-TV while playing in a golf tournament Monday in suburban New
York. "You know, a job is a job. You have to approach it that way,
you know, that's what you get paid to do, so you step in and you do
the job. You don't think about anything else."
Williams has been a fixture in the Knicks organization for
nearly a decade and is regarded as one of the franchise's most
trusted and loyal employees. He had a good rapport with the players
while coaching the final 43 games of last season after Lenny
Wilkens was forced to resign, and he'd be all but certain to remain
the head coach if Brown decides to say no to the Knicks.
New York would be Brown's eighth NBA head coaching job,
presenting him with his most difficult challenge since taking over
the Philadelphia 76ers in 1997 after they went 22-60 the year
before. Brown coaxed another nine victories out of the Sixers in
his first season in Philadelphia, got them into the playoffs the
following season and made it to the NBA Finals by his fourth year.
In Detroit, Brown won the NBA championship in his first year
coaching the Pistons, guiding them to 54 regular-season victories
after they had won 50 the prior season under Rick Carlisle.
When Brown took over the Indiana Pacers in 1993, they improved
by six victories.
When he took control of the Los Angeles Clippers midway through
the 1991-92 season, they were below .500. But he guided them to a
23-12 record over the rest of the season to give the franchise its
first playoff berth in 15 years.
Brown, Williams and Thomas did not return calls seeking comment.
Larry Brown and Herb Williams planned to break bread together Monday night, one of the last steps before Brown decides whether he wants to become head coach of the New York Knicks.