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Sunday, July 24, 2005
Knicks owner Dolan meets with Larry Brown

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Knicks owner James Dolan of Cablevision met Sunday night with prospective coach Larry Brown, who had wanted to speak first with interim coach Herb Williams.

The visit to Brown's home in East Hampton, N.Y., by Dolan and team president Isiah Thomas represented the next step in the Knicks' wooing of Brown, a pursuit that figures to draw to a conclusion in the next few days.

"I'm not going to comment on how it went," Brown said afterward.

The Knicks had not formally offered the job to Brown as of Saturday, but the implied message from Thomas was clear: The job is Brown's if he wants it.

Brown had said he wanted to speak to Williams before speaking to Dolan, but Williams was out of town for the weekend and Dolan was in the Hamptons. Those logistics made Dolan the second Knicks official to get a private audience with Brown.

"We're going to go to dinner tomorrow somewhere in New York with Herb Williams," Brown told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "It's important for me to talk to him."

Williams, who has been asked by the Knicks to stay publicly silent, did not return a call to his cell phone.

Williams has been accepting of his tenuous job status throughout the spring and summer, first when the Knicks made a pitch to Phil Jackson, and now during their serenading of Brown.

Williams spent 18 years in the NBA, including seven with the Knicks, and was one of New York's captains the last time the franchise reached the NBA Finals in 1999. He coached the Knicks for the final 43 games last season after Lenny Wilkens was forced to resign.

The first time Brown spent any quality time with Williams was last summer at a clinic in Memphis that Brown conducts annually to help find assistant coaching jobs for his many friends in the business.

"Everybody I've ever talked to thinks the world of him," said Brown, who recalled first crossing paths with Williams in 1980 when Brown, coaching UCLA, defeated Williams' Ohio State team.

Brown met with Thomas on Thursday night, then spent parts of the next few days discussing the pros and cons of coaching the Knicks with his wife, Shelly, and his young children, T.J. and Madison.

Brown said health problems related to his bladder will not prohibit him from coaching, and he has tried to assure his wife that he'll get the rest his doctors have been ordering during the months of August and September before training camp opens.

First, of course, the Knicks would have to formally offer the job and then work out contract details with Brown's agent. And before Dolan offers a contract, he wanted a face-to-face reading with the nomadic coach who parted acrimoniously with his last two owners -- Detroit's Bill Davidson and Philadelphia's Ed Snider.

Dolan has signed the paychecks of Williams, Wilkens, Don Chaney and Jeff Van Gundy during his tenure as head of the team's ownership group.

Each of those coaches had varying levels of comfort or discomfort with Dolan, and Brown's lasting impression from their Sunday night meeting should go a long way toward determining whether the process of trying to hire him will continue moving forward.

"A lot will happen when I talk with Herb, then Mr. Dolan," Brown said Saturday.

Turns out it was Mr. Dolan, then Herb.

Brown said he had no problem with speaking to Dolan before Williams.

"It just so happened that Mr. Dolan was in the Hamptons for the weekend," said Brown, whose house was staked out by television crews, photographers and reporters.

Brown said he was angered Sunday night when a television crew rang his doorbell after Dolan and Thomas had left.