Philadelphia Note to Ed Snider:
Larry Brown is about to become available again.
If the New York press is to be believed, only the details of a Knicks buyout that could total as much as $40 million are between Brown and another round of free agency, provided his bladder heals in time for next season.
Word is that Larry wants to coach again, but a little creativity on your part might entice him to accept a new role, a different role, a breakthrough role.
Here's what you do: Offer him a piece of the team, a little piece, but one big enough to egg on his ego. Give him one of those faux titles like executive assistant vice chairman of Comcast-Spectacor or something like that. Either that, or let him call you Ed.
I know. That's pretty much what Pat Croce wanted back in 2001, and you told him right then and there what he could do with his sunny disposition. But that was different. Pat wanted to run the 76ers and Flyers, wanted to push you out of the picture, and no one does that to Mr. Snider, not now, not ever.
This would not be like that. You still would be the big, big, big boss. Mr. Snider to everyone in the world (except Billie Jean King for whatever reason). Titles aside, Larry would be around only to fix the Sixers.
What we need Larry to do is build us a contending team, the way he did way back when, pulling the likes of Eric Snow, Aaron McKie, Matt Geiger, Theo Ratliff, Tyrone Hill and Dikembe Mutombo from the rosters of other teams. Yeah, yeah, he also gave us Derrick Coleman, but that was a desperation move, when that core group all got old or injured at once.
What have you got to lose? It's not as if the guy who followed him did better. Or the guy who followed him. Or the guy who ... well, you get the drift.
It's not as if the GM he left behind has made us believers, either. I know Larry floated out that tripe when he got to Detroit about not having control here, but you and I know he was just filling notebooks on a slow day. You and I know Larry builds them and then breaks them, like a smart, but hyperactive child.
Larry got a ready-made team over the hump in Detroit, won his first-ever NBA championship, then parlayed it into the New York job. Like everything else in his life, his maneuverings were the strokes of both a master and madman, securing oodles of money from the clueless folks who own the Knicks, making himself sick as he failed, for the first time, to improve a team he took control of.
Yes, there's baggage with Brown. There was baggage last time, too. He was escaping Indiana then, having failed to win a championship with Reggie Miller, coming oh-so-close, as he did in his term here with the Sixers. He blamed upper management for that, the same frustration he apparently had in Detroit, and clearly what he had in his 10 months with the Knicks.
I'll beat Larry to the punch here. He will tell you he had no control over the makeup of the Knicks, something he swore he would never allow to happen after his experience in Indiana. Maybe it was his success with the ready-made Pistons that made that seem less important, I don't know. All I know is that you will have to give him complete control over basketball operations if you want him here. And believe me, you want him here. Really what've ya got to lose?