Yeah, yeah, yeah, we have all heard that Larry Brown just wants to stay in Detroit and all they're doing is trying to work out the details. (Need more background? Put "Larry Brown" into the search box on the right. There are several posts.)
While we're waiting for the latest negotiations to produce something concrete Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen has cranked out some more reasons to believe this story is not as simple as Larry Brown and his agent Joe Glass make it sound.
Since the Chicago pre-draft camp in early June it's been well circulated throughout the league that Brown has been trying to secure jobs in Cleveland for three of his current assistant coaches -- Dave Hanners, Phil Ford and Pat Sullivan -- should he leave Detroit.
That certainly doesn't sound like the action of a man who wants, more than anything, to stay in Detroit.
Thomsen also tosses this little grenade into the fire:
Though he won't address the subject of Brown directly, deputy commissioner Russ Granik says that if the NBA had proof that an active coach was helping to manage the affairs of a rival team, it would be viewed as a major violation of the league's tampering rules.
He goes on to say that the Pistons would never complain to the NBA, though, because their "biggest sponsor" is, as has been widely reported, Rock Financial, which is a subsidiary of Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert's company. And the Pistons don't want to piss off Dan Gilbert.
Memo to Pistons fans: this is your Pistons leadership putting what's best for Rock Financial ahead of what's best for you.
HELP! I'm trying to find out about the NBA's tampering rules in these cases. Does anyone out there remember a similar case, or have particular knowledge? I'm trying to get a sense of what might happen if the Pistons did pursue a tampering charge against the Cavaliers. Could they expect money, draft picks, something else?
UPDATE: Turns out Larry Coon's excellent Salary Cap FAQ's have the answer:
Tampering is when a player or team directly or indirectly entices, induces or persuades anybody (player, general manager, etc.) who is under contract with another team to negotiate for their services.
The NBA takes tampering very seriously and may impose stiff penalties if it is discovered, however the league will not investigate unless another team files tampering charges. Here are some recent examples:
-The Miami Heat were discovered to have tampered with Pat Riley in 1995 by negotiating with Riley while he was still head coach of the New York Knicks. The Heat "settled," and avoided league-imposed penalties, by compensating the Knicks with $1 million and their first round draft pick in 1996.
-After Will Perdue left San Antionio in the 1999 offseason to sign with Chicago, he commented to the press about the possibility of the Bulls signing Tim Duncan and/or Grant Hill in 2000. The league considered this to be tampering, and issued Perdue a warning.
The Larry Brown case would seem to be very similar to the Pat Riley case. Pistons fans, especially now that it appears Larry Brown is leaving anyway, if I were you'd I'd pressure the team every which way you can to press tampering charges with the league. Offer Bill Davidson a deal: His Pistons can use the first-round pick and give you fans the cool million.