Brown will be introduced as coach of Pistons on Monday

Sunday, June 1st 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DETROIT AP - Larry Brown will be introduced as the coach of the Detroit Pistons at a news conference Monday, a source within the league said.

Brown reached an agreement on a five-year deal worth about $25 million, said the source, who had knowledge of the discussions between the Pistons and Brown and spoke Sunday to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

Brown replaces Rick Carlisle, who was fired Saturday. Brown did not return numerous phone messages left at his home during the weekend.

"Larry Brown is obviously a great coach and his record speaks for itself," Carlisle said Sunday. "That's a great hire."

Carlisle was asked if he thought Brown was hired before he was fired.

"I'm not going to get into that," Carlisle said.

Pistons spokesman Kevin Grigg said Sunday he could not confirm a news conference would be held.

Carlisle was fired after leading Detroit to a 50-win season and a spot in the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1991.

Brown resigned as coach of the Philadelphia 76ers on May 26 after six seasons.

At a bizarre news conference Saturday, Carlisle sat elbow-to-elbow with the man who had just fired him, Joe Dumars.

Carlisle poked fun at himself during an opening statement, then initiated jokes and even defended Dumars' decision when he was pressed to explain the dismissal.

"If you think he's going to bring in a stiff behind me, you're nuts," Carlisle said Saturday, cutting off Dumars' response to a question. "He's going to bring in a big-time guy, and if he can do that he will have done his job."

Brown, a Hall of Famer, was released from a contractual clause that prohibited him from coaching another NBA team if he left Philadelphia prematurely.

When asked about Brown on Saturday, Dumars said, "We'll be talking to him," adding that he had heard Brown's name linked to openings in Houston, Cleveland and Washington.

Carlisle was fired with one year and $2 million left on his contract despite winning two straight division titles, 100 regular-season games, a Coach of the Year award and leading the Pistons to two postseason series victories for the first time since 1991.

Philadelphia captain Eric Snow understood why the Pistons were going after his former coach.

"With Rick Carlisle gone, it would be great for Detroit's organization if it was fortunate enough to get Larry Brown," Snow said Saturday. "He's a Hall of Famer who is a great coach and a great teacher that would make every one of their players better, and that would make the Pistons even better."

Brown, 62, had two years left in his contract that paid him $6 million per season in Philadelphia.

He also coached Denver (five years), Indiana (four years), San Antonio (31/2 years), New Jersey (two years), Carolina of the ABA (two years) and the Clippers (18 months).

Brown's tenure with the Sixers was his longest in his 31-year coaching career. He led the Sixers to the playoffs for five straight seasons, including the 2001 NBA Finals, and will coach the U.S. men's national team this summer at an Olympic qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico.

He has an 879-685 record in the NBA, and is 1,285-853 overall, including ABA and college. Brown won an NCAA championship with Kansas in 1988, and became the first coach to take six NBA teams to the playoffs when the Sixers made it in 1999.

Brown would inherit a Pistons team that has the No. 2 pick in the June 26 draft. Detroit likely will select a scorer -- Darko Milicic of Serbia and Montenegro or Syracuse's Carmelo Anthony -- to complement a young nucleus of Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace and rookies Mehmet Okur and Tayshaun Prince.

Brown's brother, Herb, was head coach of the Pistons from 1975-76 through 1977-78.

Carlisle, in his first head coaching job, helped turn Detroit from a lottery team into one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. He was honored as NBA Coach of the Year for the 2001-02 season.

He led the Pistons to a 100-64 regular-season record and a 12-15 postseason mark over two years. Their season ended May 24 when they were swept by New Jersey in the conference finals.

Some believed there was tension between Dumars and Carlisle, but both denied that was true Saturday.

"You can get into a conversation about what may or not be fair, or you can be excited about being at the peak of your career," Carlisle said.

Carlisle is unsure whether he wants to pursue a coaching job right away or take a year off to be a television analyst.

"I'll just let this week play out and we'll see what happens," Carlisle said Sunday.