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Decision clouds Brown's future in Washington

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards suspended forward Kwame Brown on Tuesday for the remainder of the playoffs.

The announcement came after Brown, coach Eddie Jordan and
president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld met for about 10
minutes before the team's practice.

"We had some philosophical differences," Grunfeld said, "and
we're putting those behind us and focusing on the job at hand."

Brown won't travel with the team or participate in any practices
for the remainder of the season. The Wizards are tied with the
Chicago Bulls 2-2 in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Game 5 is Wednesday in Chicago.

"We're not going to get into specifics. We're going to do
things a certain way. These players are committed to that," said
Grunfeld, referring to the remaining players on the roster. "And
those are the type of players we want around us."

Brown played only four minutes in the Game 3 victory Saturday,
then didn't attend practice Sunday and Game 4 Monday. The team had
said he was absent because of a stomach virus.

Asked whether Brown was sick, Grunfeld said: "He talked to our
trainer and he told him he had a stomach flu."

Asked whether Brown was upset over a lack of playing time,
Grunfeld said: "Everybody likes to play as much as they can.
That's typical for the NBA."

The team's action throws into doubt Brown's future with the
team. He turned down a multiyear contract extension last fall,
which means he will become a restricted free agent at the end of
the season. Grunfeld had previously said he would like to keep
Brown. On Tuesday, he was more ambiguous.

"He's still part of our organization," Grunfeld said. "We'll
deal with that in the offseason. He's going to be a restricted free
agent in the summer, and we'll deal with that at the appropriate
time."

A message left for Brown's agent was not immediately returned.

Brown has been a major disappointment for the Wizards since
becoming the first high school player chosen No. 1 overall in the
NBA draft in 2001. After a miserable two years dealing with the
demanding Michael Jordan, Brown showed glimpses of his potential
last season when he followed a 30-point, 19-rebound game against
Sacramento with a 27 and 11 performance against Atlanta, but he
often languished in single digits.

He averaged 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds for the season, just
enough improvement for the Wizards to hope that his long awaited
breakout was on the horizon.

But Brown broke a bone in his right foot during a pickup game
last summer and started the season on the injured list. He played
in just 42 games, starting 14, and was essentially a big-body role
player off the bench. He averaged 7.0 points and 4.9 rebounds and
was frequently booed at home.

Brown's numbers were much better on the road, a result, he
claimed, of the treatment he received from the Wizards' fans.
Gilbert Arenas even appealed to fans not to boo Brown before the
Wizards' first home playoff game Saturday. The fans responded by
cheering Brown graciously when he entered the game for his four
minutes of play.