- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Larry Brown is awaiting the next SOS from a prospective employer, possibly the oddly constructed, free-falling Celtics, after the quality of his parting gift from the Knicks was resolved with the help of David Stern.

Brown did not walk away with the $40 million left on the last four years of his contract, which would have come out to about $2.2 million a victory.

But he walked away with more than enough money to feed both his family and Latrell Sprewell’s.

Now we know what Brown meant about the Knicks being his “dream job.”

No coach ever has secured such a lucrative windfall for 23 victories, no matter how emotionally uplifting each victory was to the Madison Square Garden faithful.

Overpaying the staff is the modus operandi of the Isiah Thomas-led Knicks, whether it is to acquire a suit on the bench or the 6.1 career scoring average of Jared Jeffries.

Brown is expected to resurface soon enough because basketball is all he ever has known and his one-season layover with the Knicks would be a bitter epilogue to his career.

He certainly will be courted and wooed — his favorite state of being, some would argue — and he will try to alter the notion that he is as self-absorbed and egocentric as the individuals he so desperately attempts to mold into a team.

His much-mocked “play-the-right-way” mantra always has been delivered with a parental-like caveat: Don’t do as I do, do as I say.

The hypocrisy — these are men, after all, not children — was exposed for what it is in Manhattan.

Brown inherited a bad situation and made it worse, as if the maddening makeup of the roster came as a shock to him, as if he somehow was surprised by the dribble-obsessed propensity of Stephon Marbury.

The latter is hard to imagine, considering Brown and Marbury already shared the disappointing history of the Athens Games in 2004.

But that is Brown, a coaching diva whose ample baggage requires an equal amount of desperation on the part of a suitor.

The desperation is growing in Boston, where Danny Ainge has added pieces that speak of the future instead of the present. That does not bode well for coach Doc Rivers or veterans Paul Pierce and Wally Szczerbiak.

Coaches usually pay for the mistakes of others, as Rivers knows only too well.

Brown is the exception.

His mixture of wanderlust and success has allowed him to skip city after city in regrettable fashion.

His disastrous stint in New York was his doing, too.

He all but asked to be relieved of his duties.

At least his running feud with Marbury made the situation there untenable.

It possibly was the first time in NBA history that both the coach and players quit on each other.

None of this is apt to dissuade the NBA also-rans from batting their eyelashes in the direction of Brown once the pink slips start littering the season.

Jeff Van Gundy’s seat is hot as well in Houston, where the bad back of Tracy McGrady is as problematic to the team as the coach’s control-freak manner.

Van Gundy likes nothing better than to squeeze the life out of a game.

At least it complements the dark circles under his eyes.

Bob Hill in Seattle and Dane Casey in Minnesota also are on shaky ground.

Brown could break from character and take a pass on the season.

Yet he so loves to be loved.

There is nothing quite like the romancing of Brown in the NBA.

The romancing inevitably plays better than the reality of living with him.

Win or lose, Brown is joyless, prickly, conditioned to deliver his dismay and criticisms in a monotone.

Does he improve teams? He did at one time.

He did before his conceit and wandering eye became too obvious to overlook with the Pistons.

The Knicks demonstrated that.

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