Brown may play bigger role with Sixers

Updated: December 21, 2006, 10:03 AM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Larry Brown may be back with the 76ers now that Allen Iverson is gone.

Already acting as an unofficial adviser to the Philadelphia 76ers and team president Billy King, Brown could formally return to the organization he led to the 2001 NBA Finals.

"We will certainly continue to talk, but at this point, we are not sure if anything official will come of it," King said in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Wednesday night.

Brown's agent, Joe Glass, indicated in a brief interview that Brown could return to Philadelphia. The Knicks fired Brown in June after he went 23-59 in his only season in New York.

"However it's going to be characterized will come out in the next couple of days," Glass said.

Glass was vague on what kind of announcement should be expected.

"I'd much rather have it come out of the Sixers office," Glass said, ending a brief phone interview with the AP on Wednesday night.

Brown, who had a contentious relationship with Iverson during his six seasons as Philly's coach, moved back to the area after he was fired by the Knicks. King consulted with Brown on the Iverson trade, which ended with the former MVP dealt to Denver on Tuesday.

"I will still be talking to Larry. Beyond that, I am not sure," King said before the 76ers' game against Indiana on Wednesday night.

Brown has been King's mentor since he hired him as an assistant coach in Indiana. When Brown came to Philadelphia in 1997, he brought King with him as vice president of basketball administration. King was named team president after Brown resigned in 2003.

"Larry is a great friend and tremendous asset who I have talked to numerous times during the season," King said.

While Brown has stayed behind the scenes in Philadelphia, he's visited some Sixers practices this season and attended a game against Miami. He also is still friends with team chairman Ed Snider.

"It's strictly up to Billy King. I'd welcome him if Billy decided he wanted him," Snider said at halftime Wednesday night. "He's a basketball man. He's also a coach, but he has a tremendous basketball mind."

A Hall of Famer and one of basketball's most well-traveled coaches, Brown's job with the 76ers was his longest tenure with any team in his 34-year coaching career. He took the job at Detroit and led the Pistons to an NBA title in the first of his two seasons there before bolting for one disastrous year in New York.

Brown criticized players through the media and talked to the press without a public relations official present, both violating Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan's policies. Also, the Knicks said Brown undermined team president Isiah Thomas by making trade offers to other teams, which he wasn't authorized to do.

The Knicks withheld the remainder of Brown's contract, which had four years and more than $40 million remaining, saying they fired Brown for cause. The dispute went before commissioner David Stern, but the sides agreed to a compromise in October before Stern's ruling, in which Brown got $18.5 million and both sides were freed of any future obligations to each other.

Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said he would welcome Brown's input.

"I've never had a problem with Larry Brown being around," he said.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press