NEW YORK -- Larry Brown and the New York Knicks reached a settlement on the remainder of the fired coach's contract Monday, a week before NBA commissioner David Stern was expected to rule on the dispute.
"At my request, the New York Knicks and Larry Brown have agreed to a compromise resolution of the dispute between them," Stern said in a statement. "Neither the club nor Larry have any future obligation to each other and have assured me, in response to my direction and request, that there will be no further public discussion of the matter."
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
To a certain degree, the settlement came out of the blue. There had been no substantive settlement talks between the parties for the past two months, but both sides obviously saw too much risk in letting Stern have final say. The Knicks had $53 million to lose, and Brown risked a $53 million-or-nothing gamble. It appears Stern surveyed the field, weighed each side's risk and came to both with a settlement they each could live with, and Stern wiped the mattter off his to-do list for the 2006-07 season.
Brown was fired in June after going 23-59 -- one of the worst
seasons for both the Hall of Fame coach and the franchise -- in the
first year of a five-year contract worth approximately $50 million.
Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan withheld payment of the
rest of the deal, saying the Knicks had cause because the coach
violated terms of his contract, which had about $40 million remaining. Brown also sued for damages.
Dolan cited Brown's refusal to follow the company's media policies and his tendency to overstep his role as coach and get involved in personnel decisions as key reasons for withholding the coach's salary.
A clause in Brown's contract made Stern the final arbiter in
case of any disputes -- the first time Dolan gave such a stipulation
to a coach, he said.
Brown and the Knicks testified for more than 15 hours before
Stern earlier this month, and the commissioner said last week that
he expected to make a ruling during the week of Oct. 7.
But he convinced the sides to settle before that, and both sides
accepted the ruling.
"The press release speaks for itself," said Joe Glass, Brown's
agent. "Whatever they said is fine."
Knicks spokesman Jonathan Supranowitz said the Knicks had no comment.
Isiah Thomas has replaced Brown as coach of the Knicks, who open their season Wednesday at Memphis.
Information from The Associated Press and ESPN Insider Chris Sheridan was used in this report.