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10:40 p.m. ET, 1/08/07
LB Will Coach 76ers Again
Posted by Jack McCallum
Maurice Cheeks (left) may not last long with Larry Brown waiting in the wings.
I have no doubt that, at this point in time, Larry Brown believes the best job for him is directing the fortunes of the Philadelphia 76ers from a chair in the front office, which is what he's doing in his new position as the team's executive vice president. Brown is a basketball genius (I've heard that countless times even from people who don't like him), but that doesn't mean he's immune to human frailties. I know this despite the fact that I'm no genius.
Brown's particular frailties include self-delusion and a desire to be wanted. They go together. If you want Larry Brown and make a nice enough offer, he is congenitally unable to say no. John Daly says no to a cigarette and a cold one more often than Larry Brown says no to a job offer. "Larry never got over being recruited," one person who knows him well once said.
So team president Billy King -- who owes at least part of his career to Brown (when Brown was coaching the Sixers, he persuaded bossman Pat Croce to hire King as an exec) -- recruited Brown to this advisory position, and Brown, predictably, said yes. I have no idea if they talked about the possibility of Brown coaching or the job done by incumbent Maurice Cheeks (whose team stood at 9-24 as of Monday night). It is quite possible that they did not. This is how delusion works.
But make no mistake about it: Larry Brown will be coaching the Philadelphia 76ers, if not sometime this season, then by the beginning of 2007-08. The man is hard-wired to coach, not sit in a chair. Whether or not the mess in Philly is Cheeks' fault, he will be fired -- should be fired by the get-rid-of-the-coach standing precedent of the NBA -- and it simply defies belief that King will look outside for a coach when all he has to do is swivel his head to find a great one.
And I, for one, can't wait for that first game against the Knicks.
My personal Larry Brown fable occurred two years ago, when in response to a query by radio host Jim Rome about his future plans, the then Piston coach, told his questioner that the next job he would take would be on the high school level, where he could administer and mentor the young future stars of the game. I understand that when Larry was informed that high school coaches don't make $1 million per victory, he chose a different vocation.
You are making it sound as if it's a bad thing. No other coach (among those remotely available) can win a championship. So why not get Brown acquinted this season, let him tinker with the roster so that you have a fighting chance in a couple of years time. The present roster is not going to win them anything anyway.
Finally someone nails the psyche of Larry Brown. He never does anything without his own interest paramount and is a master at triangulating his plans, usually without a conscience. Poor Mo Cheeks, a good man, being set up by the "genius". Larry Brown is as good a manipulator as he is a coach.
Boy do I agree with the last post - the self-centeredness. Brown's selfishness knows no bounds. Having been a Sixers fan when Mo Cheeks was a player, I feel for him. But the reality is, he should break out the coachng want ads sooner rather than later - or maybe go for the exec job that Brown now has!
You know, I DOUBT that things are as crystal clear as you'd like to make them seem, anonymous 4:13am. Besides, as human beings, we almost ALL do things in our own best interest. Read some Ayn Rand, particularly, The Virtue of Selfishness.
If you study some "selfless" behaviors, you'll also find some selfish motivations in that too.
So, while I am a huge fan of Mo Cheeks (going back to my prep school days when Dr. J was making housecalls at the Spectrum), I won't fault Larry Brown for accepting something he is being OFFERED.
Realistically, it doesn't matter if it is Mo Cheeks, Larry Brown or the ghost of Red Auerbach. Before they worry about coaching changes, that roster needs to blown up. Moving AI was a good move and they need to continue down the list because nobody will win with what the Sixers have now.
As a Sixers season ticket holder, I PRAY that LB gets back in the #1 chair...one only needs to go back to that dynasty-in-waiting 1996-97 Sixers team that he took over (Rex Walters, anyone? Mark Davis? Lucious Harris?) to see that the man took SHEER RUBBLE and got to the NBA finals four year later. Stackhouse for Ratliff and McKie? No brainer. Eric Snow to Seattle for a 2nd round pick? Sheer robbery. And can the man coach young guys? Forget the Danny-and-the-juniors Kansas team that won an NCAA title...how about the 1980 UCLA team that played FOUR FRESHMAN and went to the championship game.
Buy out Webber. Three 1st round picks. A top-10 PG and a good young nucleus (Iggy, Korver, Carney, etc...). The start of the '07-'08 season can't get here soon enough.
Not really. Firing coaches is not the answer to improving a basketball team. When Allen Iverson was with the Sixers, two coaches were replaced in three years - both were good coaches with sound basketball fundamentals. The Sixers made the mistake of trying to make Iverson happy with the coach by selecting a person he could live with and that backfired on them. They finally saw the light by trading Iverson to the cold cluthes of Denver, Colorado.
Firing Cheeks is not the answer. He is a good coach and as good as the two other coaches that preceded him. Larry Brown is a good coach and needs good players to play the kind of team game that can be played to win games. That is what Cheeks wants to do - create a team game that will be achieved through the trade and signing of players receptive to the team game concept.
This year is a write-off for the Sixers. What they can do is to explore possible configurations through the use of current players or pick up waived players/sign others to 10 dayc ontracts and see how this combination works out.
The real moves will be made during the off season and that is when Brown, Cheeks and the current Sixers GM can work together to see who is availabale and try to sign them as free agents. Next year and the year after we will expect to see improvement in the team.
I see Mo Cheeks back as coach and Larry Brown comfortably ensconced in his new job as VP of Basketball operations - he will help better that way by mentoring Cheeks and the rest of the team and have more of a home life with wife and boys than he would as a vagabond coach.
I completely agree with the previous comment. Larry Brown is a manipulator and if he gets into a situation he does it with only himself in mind. After the NBA championship he swore on numerous occasions that Pistons is the organization where he will finish his career. I beleive that he lost it for the Pistons the next year against Spurs. He was just looking for an exit. I think he is very much overrated, he is nowhere close to active coaches such as Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan.
Actually, if he was as good of an manipulator as he is a coach, he would be the coach/GM of the Knicks right now. Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for the Knicks), he ran into someone who is a much better manipulatior than he in Isiah Thomas.
This team is so far off, Brown would be a dope for trying to coach a 15 win team into a 25 win team. They are at least 2-3 years away from having anything resembling a roster capable of winning some games and MAYBE making a playoff run. And there is no way someone doesn't throw money at Brown to coach wherever before that.
And lets not forget Brown's negotiations with Detroit while he was still on the Philadelphia payroll. A VIOLATION which his friends in the front office overlooked and then rewarded him by letting him out of his contract obligations.
Billy King is the guy I fault. Brown did everything he could to show how he wasn't in charge, we all know he was, of the Sixers personnel decisions. Brown is a mercenary who care only for himself. He wins one NBA crown, that doesn't elevate him to "genius" status for me.
I think Brown will take the head coaching job next year. Cheeks has had two years and could not produce a winning season, which is not his fault, but a good excuse to fire him. This is the kind of situation Brown loves. He can rebuild this young team, once they buy out C.Webb's contract, through draft picks and the availibe cap space.
The shame is he's going to run a legend here in Philly out of town. Mo deserves a lot more. They lured him to town with a nice contract and the belief they could compete, I don't think he came home with the idea that it would be a rebuilding. Too bad, the guy can coach. Billy King should be fired. He's an awful GM and Larry will take his job eventually too.
We agree, Mo Cheeks is a "good man." Unfortunately, he is a wretched coach. Any coach who gives offensive zeros like Rodney Carney, Chris Webber, and now Joe Smith, depth chart position above Steven Hunter, who just comes in and shoots the lights out, every night, is a gross misfit for the job. Go back to the Minnesota loss of a few nights ago...
The starting forwards lost that game - the center and the guards were outstanding. Carney and Smith don't dish-off assists to teammates,either, so selfish they are. Christ, how many Allen Iverson ME ME ME types can one roster carry, before it gets the picture? Don't waste you tears on Mo Cheeks. He will find another job for which he is better suited.
I don't know why there's so much noise about Larry Brown. They called him a genius and all. You win 1 NBA champ and that makes you a genius!? Well then Red Auerbach might have been an alien who visited planet earth; And phil jackson is Buddha reincarnated.
Good Luck in Philly LB. Mo Cheeks & Billy King should watch their backs and Ed Snider should watch his wallet. I guess I should send my resume to the Sixers since LB did such a good job with my Knicks last year.
Brown isn't referred to as a genius simply b/c of his one NBA title; it's the work he's done over his whole career that earned him the respect he commands. his career didn't start in philly, dopes.
i'm not a huge brown fan, but the fact remains that he can flat-out coach a basketball team. period. the fact that he's not the most reliable or trustworthy person around doesn't change the fact that he's one of the greatest basketball coaches ever.
King is the real problem; he has got to go. now that they've bought out webber, the sixers have a chance to rebuild, and i'm betting it won't be a particularly slow process. they have a good nucleus; right now they're a young team making young mistakes.
Now that Cwebb is gone, and the very high possibility of a very good lottery pick (Greg Oden), the lure of coaching a young and dynamic team will be too much of an opportunity for Larry Brown to pass up. He lives to teach, and with the 76ers youth, and additional talent in next years draft, hello coach Larry, goodbye maurice.
FIRE GM BILLY KING....He is HORRIBLE. How did he get this job in the first place. Oh, I get it...Larry Brown suggested him to Pat Croce.Duh!! What a bad move. Can anyone tell me what he has done on a positive note for the Sixers??