SEC filing shows Brown got $18.5 million from Knicks

Updated: November 8, 2006, 11:57 PM ET
By Chris Sheridan | ESPN Insider

Larry Brown agreed to a settlement of $18.5 million after being fired as coach of the New York Knicks, meaning he accepted less than half of what was owed to him for the four remaining years of his contract.

The payment was disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing made Wednesday by Cablevision, the Knicks' corporate owner, which was reviewed by ESPN.com.

Neither the Knicks nor Brown have commented on his settlement in keeping with the terms of the agreement set forth by NBA commissioner David Stern, who settled the dispute after conducting two days of arbitration hearings in New York.

Brown's attorneys had asked for $53 million -- the $41 million remaining on Brown's contract and an additional $12 million in damages. The Knicks contended they owed Brown nothing because he breached his contract by, among other things, violating team media guidelines and undermining the authority of team president Isiah Thomas.

Under a contractual clause inserted at Brown's insistence when he signed the five-year, $50 million contract in the summer of 2005, Stern was the designated arbitrator for any contractual dispute -- and his decision would have been final. The commissioner brokered the settlement agreement on the eve of the NBA season opener.

Brown, now living in Philadelphia, has not commented publicly since last spring when he told a group of Knicks beat writers he was a "dead man walking." His firing was announced roughly a month later.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, a close friend of Brown's, told writers in New York earlier this week that he was concerned over the precedent Brown's settlement might set -- even though Stern, in announcing the decision, specified that it would not be precedent-setting.

"I don't know what 'arrangement' means," Popovich said. "The statement also says it's not a precedent. I guess I hope it's true. I hope it's not a precedent. Just because someone said it's not a precedent, I don't know if legally it means it's not a precedent. It's a little worrisome.

"What exactly does it mean for everybody else? I'm surprised it hasn't been talked about more. I don't know anything official going on, but everyone's talked about it and concerned about it," Popovich said.

Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN Insider. To e-mail Chris, click here.