Reports: Brown accepts Knicks' offer in principle

Updated: July 27, 2005, 12:25 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Larry Brown has been offered a contract by the New York Knicks to become the franchise's 22nd head coach, with the New York Times and (New York) Newsday reporting he has accepted the job in principle.

Brown's agent, Joe Glass, had confirmed to the Associated Press earlier in the day Brown had received an offer. Glass was more emphatic in the Times.

"[Brown's] made his decision that he wants to coach the Knicks," Glass told the Times. "Now it's up to the Knicks and myself to come up with an arrangement that works for both parties."

The Times and Newsday both reported terms of the deal could be completed Wednesday, with Brown sitting at a podium alongside team president Isiah Thomas and owner James Dolan to make things absolutely, positively, official as early as Thursday.

That scenario, of course, can only happen if there are no snags, and Glass wasn't ready to call everything a done deal.

"There's some other things to hash out, but there's nothing definitive at this point," Glass said to the Times before returning to the talks. "A lot of things can happen between the talk and the execution. I'm only secure when it's done."

And with the 64-year-old Brown, who has coached seven NBA teams and two college teams, the likelihood of something happening between the talk and the execution can never be underestimated.

"We're making progress, and we're continuing to talk at this point," Knicks spokesman Joe Favorito told The Associated Press.

Glass was not sure when contract negotiations might wrap up.

"Too hard to say," said Glass, 80, whose son has been an agent for several NBA players. "There's no time factor as far as we're concerned. We'll get it done as soon as we get it done."

Brown had dinner Monday night with Thomas and interim coach Herb Williams, a meeting that Brown described as "positive." Brown had been uneasy about the prospect of displacing Williams as coach.

"That was a huge obstacle for me, not for him," Brown said. "It's not at all anymore."

Brown's wife, Shelly, had been concerned about her husband's health. Brown missed 17 games last season due to a hip replacement operation that led to a bladder problem, and Brown underwent his third surgery in nine months shortly after the Pistons lost Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic told Brown he needed rest, and he and his wife have decided he'll get enough of it during the next two months before training camp begins.

Brown's two young children also are enthused about the move to New York.

"No one wants this to drag on," Shelly Brown said. "I know everyone's on the same page."

The Knicks' hiring of Brown would come a little more than a week after he parted ways with the Detroit Pistons after two seasons -- both of which ended with trips to the NBA Finals.

Trying to turn the rebuilding Knicks into a winner would be the latest challenge for Brown in a nomadic NBA coaching career that has included stints with the Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets. Brown also coached collegiately at Kansas and UCLA, and his first professional coaching job was with the Carolina Cougars of the ABA.

Brown was the coach of the 2004 U.S. Olympic team that finished a disappointing third. Part of that roster included Knicks guard Stephon Marbury, who would be reunited with Brown.

New York reportedly is willing to offer Brown a five-year contract worth between $50 million and $60 million.

Still unclear is what role Williams would have with the Knicks under Brown, and which of New York's current assistant coaches might remain with the club.

Williams' head coaching contract expires Sunday, but his assistant coaching contract has another year left. The Knicks finished 33-49 last season and missed the playoffs for the third time in four years.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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