The Detroit Pistons yesterday announced they had hired Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown to fill the hole left by Rick Carlisle, who was fired two days ago after the Pistons were swept from the Eastern Conference final by the New Jersey Nets.
The 62-year-old resigned as coach and vice president of basketball operations of the Philadelphia 76ers last Monday, walking away from the final two years of a contract worth some $13 million. Brown's new deal is reported to be for S28 million over five years.
Ironically, Brown takes over the team that ended the 76ers championships aspirations when they were eliminated from the Eastern Conference quarter-finals in six games by the Pistons.
"This is a franchise I admired from afar," Brown told a news conference. "I know I will do everything I can, to make it better... I wanted to go somewhere where I had a chance to win and I respected the leadership. That six-game series I saw that every night."
Having made a career of turning round under-achieving teams, such as the 76ers, Brown broke from that pattern in signing on with the Pistons, a franchise loaded with promising young talent led by Ben Wallace that won 50 games each of the last two seasons and sits on the brink of a championship.
Brown's first business will be to determine who the Pistons will take with the second overall pick in this months draft.
With the Cleveland Cavaliers poised to grab high school sensation Lebron James with the first selection, the Pistons will likely decide between Yugoslav seven-footer Darko Milicic or Syracuse's Carmelo Anthony. Brown is the only coach in NBA history to lead six different teams to the playoffs but has never won the title.