Frank Isola: Larry Brown Could Be On the Way Out

May, 15, 2006
5/15/06
1:27
AM ET
UPDATE: Looks like I may have the chronology wrong: Peter Vecsey evidently deserves the credit for getting this story to the public first, not Isola as described below in my original post. Vecsey's New York Post version has more specifics, too, including this:
From what I'm told, Cablevision boss James Dolan and Garden President Steve Mills are endorsing the buyout of Larry Brown's remaining $44 million, four-year obligation, and strongly urging Thomas to take over as head coach, a position he held for three years with the Pacers.

Give the New York Daily News credit for having more thrilling Knick controversy than any other paper. Frank Isola and the boys are hitting the Knicks hard these days.

The latest is word that the James Dolan may be on is way to buying out Larry Brown's massive contract, perhaps to replace him with (can you guess?)... Isiah Thomas.

Many reasons are cited, ranging from Brown's public hissy fits about his roster, to his health problems that seem to be exacerbated by any criticism from ownership.

Then there's the fact that none of the players seem to want to listen to Brown, and there's little the team can do to change the roster. Isola writes:

According to two player agents with clients on the Knicks, the players staged a palace coup in front of Thomas during their exit interviews. Players never blame themselves, and they weren't about to cast aspersions on Thomas, the man responsible for bringing them to New York.

Instead, approximately eight of the Knicks' 15 players blamed Brown for arguably the worst season in franchise history. The most common complaints were Brown's failure to define roles and his penchant for publicly criticizing his players.

"The Knicks are going to have to make changes because there is no way Larry can walk into the locker room with this same group," one source said then. "He lost a lot of those guys and he's not going to win them back."

Brown could not have been surprised by the feedback Thomas was getting. Two weeks earlier, Brown admitted that several Knicks had long since tuned him out, and said that the season had been reduced to "begging guys to play."

After the exit interviews, Thomas said: "We do have a group that, for everything that I've heard today, like each other, want to stay together and want to play together, and believe that they can get it done."

If the Knicks really do buy out Larry Brown's $40 million or so contract remainder, they will surely be shattering some kind of record for most money shelled out per victory in 2006. It would also be fascinating to see who, if anyone, would go after Larry next. He certainly won't get paid as much next time.

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