No details on dinner between Brown and Williams
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 thanks."
From all indications, the former is a prohibitive favorite over the latter.
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 be taking.
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 million.
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 be added.
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.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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