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Brown will be team's fourth coach in less than a year

7/27/2005 - New York Knicks

NEW YORK -- A month of drama for Larry Brown ended with him
landing his "dream job."

At an age when many people are pondering retirement, Brown moved
ahead into yet another chapter of his itinerant coaching career
Wednesday when his agent finalized a contract with the New York Knicks.

Brown will sit alongside team president Isiah Thomas when the
Knicks introduce the 22nd coach in franchise history at a news
conference Thursday at Madison Square Garden, where the buzz could
be coming back after nearly a half-decade of mediocrity and
malaise.

Brown's agent worked out the final details of contract language
with team executives Wednesday, clearing the way for the Knicks to
introduce Brown as the 22nd head coach in franchise history.

Less than 10 days after his divorce from the Detroit Pistons was
finalized, Brown will be trading down in talent but up in salary
and sentiment.

The Knicks were Brown's favorite team when he was growing up in
Brooklyn, and the eighth stop on his NBA coaching carousel will
truly be a "dream job" -- just what Brown called it earlier this
year.
He'll join a long list of distinguished coaches -- including Joe
Lapchick, Red Holzman, Pat Riley and Lenny Wilkens -- who have
guided one of the NBA's charter franchises.

"We have it just about done. There are a couple of things to
tidy up," agent Joe Glass said early Wednesday evening. Less than
an hour later, everything was in place -- except Brown's signature,
which was due Thursday.

In 22 seasons as a professional coach, Brown has compiled a
987-741 record. The title he won with the Detroit Pistons in 2004
was the only NBA championship of his career.

Glass would not comment on reports the contract would be
for five years and between $50 million to $60 million. He said
there were no major issues that needed to be worked out in the
final contract negotiations Tuesday and Wednesday.

Brown did not immediately return a call seeking comment
Wednesday.

July has turned out to be a whirlwind month for the coach who
will be 65 by the time training camp begins. He began it at the
Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where he underwent surgery for a bladder
problem, then told the Pistons he was prepared to return.

He and Glass met with Detroit owner Bill Davidson and team
president Joe Dumars that Brown originally thought had gone well.
But Davidson, peeved that Brown had spoken to the Cleveland Cavaliers during the playoffs, had grown tired of the drama that
constantly surrounds the high-maintenance coach.

Just hours after the Pistons finished a severance agreement with
Brown that paid him $7 million, Knicks president Isiah Thomas
picked up the phone and made it known that New York had a serious
interest.

Meetings with owner James Dolan, interim coach Herb Williams and
Madison Square Garden president Steve Mills followed, and Brown
gave his agent to go-ahead to hammer out the contract language.

Brown becomes the team's fourth coach in less than a year,
following Williams, Wilkens and Don Chaney. The Knicks haven't been
to the finals since 1999 under Jeff Van Gundy and haven't won a
title since Holzman coached in 1973.

Brown takes over a roster that Thomas has transformed into a mix
of youngsters and high-salaried veterans. Turning them into a
winner will 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 Kansas to an NCAA title in 1988, had stints
with UCLA and the Carolina Cougars of the ABA, and led the 2004
U.S. Olympic team that finished a disappointing third. Part of that
roster included Knicks guard Stephon Marbury, who clashed with
Brown last summer. Marbury has already publicly endorsed Brown's
hiring, and Brown has said he will have no problem coaching the
enigmatic guard.

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

Doctors 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.