St. Petersburg Times
Online: Tech Times
 tampabay.com
Print storySubscribe to the Times

NBA

Brown in unfamiliar territory

By Wire services
Published November 16, 2003

Larry Brown, the vagabond coach whose next building project never seems far away, landed in a strange spot on the latest stop in his tour of basketball jobs across America.

He found a ready-made team.

Brown's history is to take a downtrodden team and build it into a winner. Be it the Nuggets, the Nets, the Spurs or most of the other teams Brown, 63, has taken command of, the pattern is a losing record before Brown and a good bit of winning with him.

Detroit is different.

The Pistons went 50-32, won the Central Division and reached the Eastern Conference final before getting swept by New Jersey last season.

"He took over a winning team for the first time," said Joe Dumars, Detroit's president of basketball operations. "That makes it a unique situation in itself."

It was an unexpected marriage.

The departure after six seasons in Philadelphia, an eternity for any coach these days, was well-telegraphed among inner circles.

Brown thought all along he would end up in Cleveland or Houston. Both teams had promising young players in place as the foundation for a successful future, and he is a coach who lives for teaching. He also talked with Washington, which had an appeal since the Wizards were offering the chance to be head of basketball operations.

Then he had a 20-minute conversation with Dumars, and everything changed. The Pistons became the choice on the spot. But he didn't become the coach on the spot. Detroit already had one.

"A very tough spot," said Dumars, who proceeded to fire Rick Carlisle and hire Brown.

HEAT'S COLD REALITY: When Pat Riley stepped down as Miami's coach four days before the start of the season, he handed his replacement, Stan Van Gundy, a mess. And all fingers point at Riley for creating it.

It was Riley, who has stayed on as team president, who gave maximum contracts in the summer of 2000 to two players - Brian Grant and Eddie Jones - unworthy of such money. When the Heat finally got some salary-cap room last summer, Riley blew it again, giving Lamar Odom a cap-strangling six-year, $65-million contract. Odom is averaging 11.4 points and shooting .337, and the Heat is off to a 2-7 start. "You could assemble a staff of Red Auerbach, Red Holzman and Phil Jackson and you can talk all you want, but that's a small, small team," said Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy, who led his Rockets to a 90-70 win Tuesday against his brother's team. "They don't have much size, they have no true point guard, and they don't have enough shooting. If they don't get some size or improve their shooting, it's going to be tough for them."

It doesn't figure to be Riley's problem for much longer. It's unlikely he'll stay after his contract expires in the summer of 2005.

MAVERICK VIEW: Dallas has become one of the league's television darlings the past few seasons, and although the exposure is a positive for the franchise, the extra publicity doesn't exactly excite coach Don Nelson.

"You can't swear as much because they've got you (microphoned) on the bench," he said.

AROUND THE RIM: The Hornets tried to connect with New Orleans, retiring Pete Maravich's No. 7 and giving out Maravich bobbleheads even though the former Louisiana State and New Orleans Jazz star died before the Hornets franchise began. ... Lakers coach Phil Jackson has decided to abandon the scheme of having Kobe Bryant defend opponents' primary ballhandler. Gary Payton now has that assignment, with Bryant going back to defending shooting guards. ... After picking up a technical foul in Portland's 112-110 comeback overtime win against Sacramento on Thursday night, Rasheed Wallace yanked his headband down in frustration. He played the rest of the night with his headband around his neck and had one of his best games of the season with 26 points.

- Information from the Sacramento Bee, Rocky Mountain News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Associated Press was used in this report.

[Last modified November 16, 2003, 01:34:40]


Baseball

  • Mets scout: comments wrong

  • College basketball
  • FSU looks into recruit's eligibility
  • Xavier opens with a win but still lacks an identity

  • College football
  • UF Game balls
  • White Wash
  • FSU Game balls
  • 'Canes back up on back of Moss
  • Rally saves UF title shot
  • That's a Wrap
  • Utah politician weighs in on BCS
  • Line changes are temporary
  • Fason proves to be a keeper
  • Timeout again leads to touchdown
  • UF By the numbers
  • Another great escape
  • FSU By the numbers
  • FSU gives away play, takes advantage
  • Rix rewards staff's faith with big finish

  • Colleges
  • FSU gets 2 berths in cross country

  • Conferences
  • Big East: Missed PAT lets Hokiesescape Temple upset bid
  • ACC: Clemson keeps rolling, crushes Duke
  • C-USA: Frogs continue to horn way into BCS picture
  • Nation: N. Illinois' bowl shot gets shaky
  • State: Suber leads Wildcats to victory
  • Big XII: At last, Cats get win at Nebraska
  • Pac-10: WSU still 1st thanks to backup
  • SEC: Dawgs get rare win at home over Auburn
  • Big Ten: Michigan win sets up showdown for title

  • Golf
  • Annika beats the boys with $20,000 of skins

  • In brief
  • Federer advances with ease

  • Motorsports
  • The idol and the champ
  • Mutual interest for Tracy, Childress
  • Vickers youngest champ with Busch Series title

  • NBA
  • Brown in unfamiliar territory
  • Cavs snap skid to Sixers

  • NFL
  • Bottom line
  • NFL Picks
  • Parity begins to show at home
  • Things that make you go Hmmm ...
  • Browns tackle draws fine for hit

  • NHL
  • Bruins beat Cloutier for an overtime victory
  • Slap shots

  • Opinion
  • 'They' may or may not win, but 'you' are just going to watch
  • Rant, Rave

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report
  • When cold winds howl, hunters think waterfowl

  • Preps
  • Bayshore rises to comeback
  • Bucs even year-old score
  • Jesuit wins Logan bowl
  • Jesuit wins Logan bowl
  • Marauders seniors get moment to shine
  • Three times won
  • Wildcats' one loss means the most
  • Letters: Your Turn
  • Rays
  • Rays consider trades instead of free agents
  • Bucs
  • McCardell becoming the Bucs' futility man
  • Beat-up Bucs missing the A-Train
  • Bucs-Packers matchup ...
  • Kickin' back
  • Sideline
  • Letters: The record doesn't justify smugness
  • Lightning
  • Grahame: U.S. spot would be 'an honor'
  • St. Louis responds when pressure builds
  •  


    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111