Brown is out as Bobcats coach; Silas takes over

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - After a miserable start to the season in which he took shots at his players and himself, Larry Brown is out as coach of the Charlotte Bobcats in another messy exit in his well-traveled career.

Former Charlotte Hornets coach Paul Silas, who has been out of the league since 2005, will direct the team for the rest of the season on an interim basis.

Owner Michael Jordan announced Brown’s departure in a news release Wednesday, a day after the Bobcats were outscored 31-12 in the fourth quarter in their fourth straight loss.

“I met with Coach Brown two weeks ago about the team’s performance and what we could do to improve it,” Jordan said. “We met again this morning after practice. The team has clearly not lived up to either of our expectations and we both agreed that a change was necessary.”

The 70-year-old Brown, a Hall of Fame coach who was in the third season of his 13th professional and college head coaching job, had been upset with the makeup and effort of his team for weeks. The Bobcats (9-19) had lost three games by 31 or more points in 10 days before Tuesday’s fourth-quarter meltdown against Oklahoma City.

Brown, whose contract runs through the end of the 2011-12 season, didn’t immediately return a message on his cell phone seeking comment. But his agent, Joe Glass, said Brown will be back on the bench soon.

Larry is going to coach again,” Glass said. “He’s got a plenty of strength and energy.”

Glass and Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins declined to discuss details of any buyout or if Brown will be paid through the end of his original four-year contract.

Brown leaves with an 88-108 mark with the Bobcats. His 1,327 victories in the ABA and NBA are nine shy of supplanting Don Nelson for the most all-time.

“This was a difficult decision for both of us, but one that needed to be made,” Jordan said. “I want to thank Larry for everything he has done for our team. He has played a key role in this organization’s development including coaching us to our first-ever playoff appearance last season.”

Higgins said they didn’t contact the 67-year-old Silas until late Wednesday afternoon and “both sides were OK” with Silas getting an interim label.

“It allows us an opportunity to see how Paul does and see how he can get our team to a certain level,” Higgins said. “Paul has been out of it for a while.”

Silas was a popular figure when he coached the Hornets through their move to New Orleans in 2002. He later was LeBron James’ first coach in Cleveland and has a home in the Charlotte area.

Silas, who didn’t immediately return phone messages seeking comment, was busy working to put together a staff before Thursday’s practice. The Bobcats are off until Monday when they host Detroit.

He’ll take over a team that’s in disarray, but yet sat only 2 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference before Wednesday’s games.

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