NEW YORK -- The Knicks contend Larry Brown broke Madison Square Garden policy with his roadside interviews, a decision the team believes could wind up saving them millions.
The Knicks fired Brown on Thursday after one season as their coach and replaced him with team president and general manager Isiah Thomas. Brown has four years and a reported $40 million left on his contract, but the Knicks say the Hall of Fame coach is not entitled to all of it because of his disregard for team policy.
Since James Dolan became owner of the Knicks and Rangers, Madison Square Garden policy specifies that any interviews must be done with a public relations official present -- with no exceptions, according to a person familiar with the policy, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because this matter has not been resolved.
After reports surfaced in May that Dolan was considering buying
out Brown's contract, the Knicks made neither Brown nor Thomas
available after they worked out potential draft prospects.
Reporters soon began waiting near the entrance to the Knicks' training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y. On a few occasions, Brown
pulled his car over to speak, saying during one interview he felt
like a "dead man walking."
Brown's agent, Joe Glass, would not address the contention that the Hall of Fame coach was violating company rules.
"I'm not going to comment on any alleged misconduct," he said Friday. "It will be taken care of in the proper format at the
Told the Knicks are citing a specific infraction, Glass said, "We will answer all of the alleged allegations at the appropriate
time at the appropriate format."
Glass, in any event, expects his client to be properly taken care of.
"I'm sure he will be," he said.
The Knicks went 23-59 -- matching the franchise record for losses
in a year -- despite carrying the highest payroll in the league.
Brown's criticism of Stephon Marbury and other players through the
media clearly rankled Dolan. Now the coaching job belongs to
Thomas, the Knicks' fifth coach in the last three years.
"I'm disappointed, I love this franchise, but I didn't do what
I was paid to do," Brown said in Friday's New York Post. "I
didn't do the job. I wish them well and I move on.
"I had a great opportunity. ... They feel I didn't do what I
came to do. I mean, I won 23 games."