The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that Larry Brown has resigned as Executive Vice President. From the press release:
In January of 2007, Brown rejoined the Sixers organization as Executive Vice President, less than six years removed from coaching the franchise to the NBA Finals in 2001.
"It's rare you'll find a separation between an organization and an executive as amicable as the one the 76ers had with Larry Brown today," said Stefanski. "Larry was born to coach and this is something he and I talked about when I took the job here back in December, so it comes as no surprise to me. Working with Larry was always a pleasure and to watch him contribute with Maurice, his staff and the players was terrific."
Which means: fire up the rumor mill!
You have to think he's going to end up coaching somewhere.
There has been talk of this or that college program. Sure could be. But on the other hand, how many college jobs were made available to Coach Brown during this interlude from coaching? I think the proper number is likely somewhere around one zillion. Yet he has not bitten on any of them, preferring instead to linger in front-office purgatory while memories fade a little about how badly things went last time he was on the bench.
So, if we boldy assume he is headed for an NBA team, which one might it be?
It could be just about anywhere. It could even be your team. There are coaches who are alive in the playoffs right now who could be fired. Assume nothing.
There is always a "list of coaches on the hot seat" brewing. Seattle GM Sam Presti, for instance, recently failed to give PJ Carlesimo a vote of confidence. Charlotte's Sam Vincent always makes these lists (and Larry Brown is a Carolina guy!). It has been reported that Memphis' Marc Iavaroni is vulnerable. And as the Mavericks lose, you hear more and more talk about Avery Johnson feeling job pressure.
On the other hand, there is a code among coaches. They are all nearly insane with the fear of getting fired. As a favor to each other, the code says that you don't hunt another coach's job. Certainly not publicly. Instead, you wait for a job to open, then you compete like hell for it.
As a dean of the coaching fraternity, Brown, I suspect, would never do anything with even the slightest chance of making it look like he was trying to get another coach fired. If he were hoping to get one of those jobs, my assertion is that Brown would have delayed his resignation from the 76ers until the job he wanted was available. That way no one has to feel Brown breathing down his neck.
Since Scott Skiles was hired in Milwaukee, the currently open NBA coaching jobs are:
Is there any chance that Larry Brown returns to the New York Knicks who so recently demonized him?
Maybe, I guess it's theoretically possible.
But it was not all that long ago that David Stern called Larry Brown and James Dolan into his office for a firm chat.
And even more recently, Brown has not had nice things to say about the work environment under Dolan, telling Philadelphia Magazine's Anthony L. Gargano, for instance: "Imagine when you get to work, they don't talk to you. They had security people standing close to me in press conferences, and spies throughout the arena."
The Associated Press quotes Brown's agent, Joe Glass, today saying: "He has the taste of coaching back in his mouth. It would be refreshing to have a situation going that he could enjoy, rather than the last one, to say the least."
Maybe having Brown's former Indiana boss Donnie Walsh at the helm changes all that. But how does Larry Brown play with New York fans? At the introductory press conference, wouldn't they almost have to trash current Knicks employee Isiah Thomas, just to make the hire make sense?
In the meantime, there's Chicago. John Paxson and Larry Brown are both old school, and they both like defense. By process of elimination (or, almost elimination -- college, other teams, and New York are not really ruled out), my speculation leads to be believe Chicago could be the most likely bet.
No doubt, this will play out in some fashion over the off-season, and we will see what happens. Some day soon, there will be new information that will change everything, and I will change my mind entirely.
However, for today, if you have an office pool going, put me down for a very small wager on the Bulls.