Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Urge to kill rising ... RISING ...

Well, the worst-kept secret in the sporting world came to pass late last night: Larry Brown is out as Pistons head coach, an abrupt, if entirely expected, end to a dance that was going on for much longer than a lot of people realized. A lot of people think that this drama started around the time "Larry Brown to Cleveland" rumors were swirling in late May. But as Detroit News columnist Terry Foster points out, this parting was a lot longer in the making than most people thought. For instance, here is an excerpt from a weblog entry he wrote on the News’s site, way back in November:

Wed, Nov 17, 2004 at 5:45 AM – Terry Foster
I expect Pistons Coach Larry Brown to retire at the end of the season. He's had enough and wants to rest. Brown is down now. He cannot coach because of painful hip surgery. But that is not why he will leave the game after the season. He dreads coaching games and if you cannot get yourself up to coach games any more that is a strong sign you've had enough. An 82-game season plus playoffs is tough enough for players, let alone for a man who is in his 60s and needs a break from the game. Brown told me a few weeks ago that he loves running practices and loves being around the team. However, game days are difficult for him. And in the NBA it seems as if every day is a game day. He is at least contemplating retirement. My gut is telling me he has already made the decision and will wait for the appropriate announce it to the rest of us. If this was the case was it worth drumming Rick Carlisle for Brown? Yes it was. The Pistons won an NBA championship -- something they would not have done last season under Carlisle. But who replaces Brown? Stay tuned...

So the desire to bolt at the end of this past season was stirring in Larry going back to November, and possibly earlier. And that’s fine. What pisses me off, however, is that, as Marc Stein astutely observes, Brown is using this illness thing as a shield - he has no intention of coming back to the Pistons, and he’s continually claiming that he wants to return, but he’s refusing to give assurances that he’ll be able to coach the full season, due to his illness. That way, the Pistons have been forced to make a decision: roll the dice on LB, with the risk of him possibly missing even more games than the 20 or so he missed this year (maybe even playoff games); or roll the dice, let LB go, and grab the next best available coach in Flip Saunders. Brown has essentially quit without actually quitting, and as such, it’s technically the Pistons doing the firing. Because of this, the Pistons are stuck having to buy out his contract (which has $ 18 million remaining), the negotiations of which are going on as I speak ... or type or ... whatever. Brown is going to maintain that he wanted to come back to Detroit, and that Joe Dumars and Bill Davidson forced him out. Essentially, he’s going to lie through his teeth to try and seem like the wronged party here. His agent, Joe Glass -- a gentleman who appeared on a local radio show here a few weeks ago and, with his gruff demeanor and aversion to directly answering questions, did much more to fuel speculation that Brown was passive-aggressively quitting than he did to quelch it -- is reportedly already claiming as much. Well, don’t believe it. He has no desire to come back, and he’s forcing the Pistons to have to buy him out. He’s a fantastic coach, but the guy has been lying through his teeth for months (years, in fact, if you look at his track record) and, as much as I appreciate what he did in bringing the 2004 championship here, I despise him right now. I hope we buy him right the fuck out, I hope he jumps right on top of that fucking Knicks job like he’s dying to do, and I hope the Pistons absolutely fucking ASSRAPE him every chance they get from here on out.


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