Brown returning to 76ers as executive VP info
PHILADELPHIA - Exit Allen Iverson. Enter Larry Brown. And so it goes with the Philadelphia 76ers, who rehired Brown for their front office nearly three weeks after trading away the player who tormented him during much of his six years as their coach.
The 76ers said early Saturday that Brown returned as an executive vice president. He will assist team president Billy King and the basketball operations department, and work on special projects.
"Oh yeah, I think he's very happy back in Philly," said Brown's agent, Joe Glass.
The move was expected after Philadelphia traded Iverson to Denver last month. The day after the deal, King said he was talking to Brown about the possibility of rejoining the franchise he coached to the 2001 NBA finals.
The 66-year-old Hall of Fame coach had a contentious relationship with Iverson, but the two worked together despite several disputes.
Iverson was often late for practices, or skipped them, leading to blowups with Brown. Former team president Pat Croce acted as mediator, once sitting the combustible pair in a room and persuading them to hash out their differences.
"That's a good move. He'll do a great job," Iverson said after the Nuggets' loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Brown, fired by the Knicks in June after going 23-59 and clashing with team president Isiah Thomas in Brown's only season in New York, had been acting as an unofficial Sixers consultant this season. Brown advised King on the Iverson trade.
When asked about Brown's hiring after New York's victory in Seattle, Thomas - now the Knicks' coach - simply said, "Congratulations."
One of basketball's most well-traveled coaches, Brown has been King's mentor since he hired him as an assistant coach in Indiana. When Brown came to Philadelphia in 1997, he brought King with him as vice president of basketball administration. King became team president after Brown resigned in 2003.
Brown's job with the 76ers was his longest tenure with any team in his 34-year coaching career. He took the job at Detroit and led the Pistons to an NBA title in the first of his two seasons there before his one disastrous season in New York.
With the Knicks, Brown criticized players through the media and talked to the press without a public relations official present, both violating Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan's policies. Also, the Knicks said Brown undermined Thomas by making trade offers to other teams, which he wasn't authorized to do.
The Knicks withheld the remainder of Brown's contract, which had four years and more than $40 million left, saying they fired Brown for cause. The dispute went before commissioner David Stern, but the sides agreed to a compromise in October before Stern's ruling, in which Brown got $18.5 million and both sides were freed of any future obligations to each other.
Brown visited some Sixers practices this season and attended a game against Miami. He also is close to team chairman Ed Snider.
When Brown left the 76ers after the 2002-03 season, he had two years left on a contract that paid him $6 million per season. The Sixers released him from a contractual clause that prohibited him from coaching another NBA team if he left Philadelphia prematurely.