- The Washington Times - Monday, June 6, 2005

Larry Brown has been flirting with another team in the playoffs, which is what he does and what he always will do until he decides to retire.

Brown is about No. 1, as we all are, although he is shameless about it. His lack of self-discipline in these job-seeking instances is fairly incriminating, considering the demands he puts on players.

As usual, Brown does not understand the fuss this time, the outcry. Or at least he pretends not to understand, which is fine.

Either way, his situation is too easy. It is the equivalent of a big, fat pitch floating lazily to the plate, just waiting to be dispatched to the seats beyond the outfield fence.

Brown, after all, is the serial hypocrite who always implores his team to play the right way. Yet he does not play the right way.

He asks his players to be loyal, committed and selfless, to put the team ahead of their individual goals. He might as well add: Don’t do as I do; do as I say.

His potential next move — from the bench of the Pistons to the front office of the Cavaliers — has been one of the dominant story lines of the Pistons-Heat series.

Brown only has fanned the flames of intrigue with his critiques of the media and failure to quell the speculation with a simple declaration: “I am not going to the Cavaliers, period.”

But he just can’t help himself. In his eternal quest to find the basketball Eden or satisfy the wanderlust that beats inside him, the next job is always the best.

You can throw out any basketball job to him, and he is determined to listen. He will see the potential in it. He will have a vision for it. Why, it even may rise to the level of being one of his dream jobs, of which he has had a zillion.

Somehow, his tired act never seems to dissuade a new series of suitors. There always is someone desperate enough to dance with him anew, as if all he needs is the right team to settle down.

His is no easy sell with players, for they know what he is. They know who he is. And they know lots of his stuff is self-serving.

Yet, for whatever reasons, Brown is consistently able to wring the most out of his teams. His Pistons staved off elimination and the depleted Heat in Game6, and they did it in convincing fashion, regardless of their coach.

No, Brown would not tolerate his actions in another person. If he had to coach a player jacking up 30 shots a game in a contract year, he would whine in his sleep-inducing monotone and he would note how there is a right way and a wrong way to play the game of basketball. And the sports columnists in his city would come to his aid.

But now Brown is the person looking out for his self-interests at the worst possible time, and he just cannot fathom why it has offended the game’s purists.

He has played the medical card and said he is a coach to the core. If he is unable to continue coaching, he would like to remain in the game in some capacity, which is the carrot the Cavaliers have dangled before his eager eyes.

But that is now, and things inevitably change, especially with Brown. If he winds up in the front office of the Cavaliers, he perhaps will be just a four-game losing streak from a spate of stories urging him to return to the bench.

This is not to begrudge the 850 jobs in Brown’s past. We all should be so fortunate.

But there is a right way and a wrong way to handle these affairs, as Brown knows only too well.

Wrong as it is, Brown is forever addicted to the romance of the next job.

And he is your guy until the romance dies.

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