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Thread: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

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    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    http://www.detnews.com/2005/pistons/...B01-242652.htm

    Brown, Pistons in ugly mess

    There's plenty of blame to go around, but situation makes all look bad.

    By Bob Wojnowski / The Detroit News

    Stop the nonsense. Everybody. Just stop it. The feel-good Pistons are in danger of becoming the ugly, ruthless Pistons, and Larry Brown is in danger of reconfirming the worst suspicions about him. And both sides are shrugging and acting as if they're powerless to stop it.

    The Pistons' coaching drama has become a sad, sordid tale of ego and mistrust and false tales and fake smiles and whispered accusations. The Pistons can act as if it's all Brown's fault, that he wants to leave, and some in the media can gleefully paint it that way. But I'm sorry: If Brown has a track record (goodness, he sure does), the Pistons are developing a nasty one of their own.

    Two years ago, they fired one of the best young coaches in the NBA, Rick Carlisle, under murky circumstances.

    Now Brown, a Hall of Famer who helped lead the Pistons to back-to-back Finals and came within a few minutes of back-to-back titles, could be removed.

    While Joe Dumars waits for Brown to tell him when he can return to coaching, after Brown underwent a procedure on his bladder last week, Brown wonders if the Pistons and owner Bill Davidson really want him or are just pretending that they do.

    It's a ridiculous stare-down with no deadline set, although the Pistons have had their replacement, Flip Saunders, hovering for months, as if they planned for this all along.

    It's an unseemly mess for what we've considered one of the classiest franchises in sports. Someone has to exhibit leadership here, and it's on the Pistons to do so. I can't believe Davidson is excited about losing, arguably, the best coach in the NBA. I also can't believe he's happy that some in his organization are spreading ugly stories, tainting Brown.

    The latest, from Sports Illustrated's online edition, is a sleazy stretch from an "unimpeachable source within the Pistons," suggesting that in Game 7 of the Finals, Brown couldn't fully motivate his players because "when they looked in his eyes they saw someone halfway out the door."

    Cripes. With all due respect, what does that garbage mean? And how can anyone irresponsibly ignore the bottom line here? If Brown took the Pistons to Game 7 of the Finals even though he supposedly no longer could motivate his players, geez, he must be a better coach than we imagined.

    Brown's 'dilemma'

    Brown has heard the stories. Speaking from his vacation home in the Hamptons in New York, he sounds slightly wounded but at least publicly willing to put it aside and return to the Pistons.

    "I'm planning to be there on October 3 (the opening of training camp)," Brown, 64, said. "My dilemma is, I can't tell them 100 percent I'll be ready because the doctors don't know and I don't know. But if the Pistons can't wait, let me know, don't put this stuff out there. I mean, what would you do if you were me?"

    I told him I'd give the Pistons a fair estimate on when he believed he'd be healthy enough to coach. I also told him, if he really wanted to stay in Detroit, maybe he should try harder to communicate with the Pistons, set up a meeting with Davidson, do what it takes to reconcile.

    Then I asked him this: If you were Dumars and the Pistons, not knowing when you'll be back, what would you do?

    Brown thought for a second, then answered.

    "If I was them, and they really valued me to be their coach, I'd say, 'Take as long as you can to get well and we'll figure it out.' That's what they'd do if it was a player. That's what other teams have done for coaches with health or personal issues -- Jerry Sloan at Utah, Rudy Tomjanovich at Houston, Don Nelson at Dallas. This is not a made-up thing. I have a health problem."

    He does, and somehow, that gets downplayed. He also has a credibility problem that gets played up, and that's damaging him right now. But while some have giddily portrayed Brown as this Lone Liar, it's important to note there's enough insincerity on both sides -- yes, both sides -- to fuel an entire political campaign.

    Is the relationship between the Pistons and Brown irreparable? If the stubbornness festers much longer, it could be. Dumars doesn't want to comment, other than to say he'd welcome Brown back, and the only issue is one of timing, trying to balance Brown's health needs with the team's coaching needs.

    Fair enough. It has been difficult at times to tell if Brown really wants to be back, although he showed plenty by enduring incredible discomfort all season. And his passion did crackle during the playoffs. Before that, his mixed messages could have been a reaction to the Pistons' mixed messages (or vice versa).

    No matter what you hear in the Pistons' public posturing, signs have been splattered in numerous media outlets that they want to move on, that Davidson is upset, for reasons that aren't completely clear, or fair.

    They're sick of Brown's drama and distractions? Hmm. So, after wringing the good out of him, reaching two Finals, they're unwilling to put up with the total quirky package, the one they knew they were getting when they hired him? They're miffed he talked to Cleveland? Yes, the timing by Brown and the Cavs' ownership during the playoffs was phenomenally poor. But remember, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has a friendly business relationship with the Pistons, and this was a fallback management position because of Brown's health. And in case anyone missed it, Brown didn't take the Cleveland job immediately after the season, as many predicted.

    They're miffed he mentioned New York was his "dream job"? Are the Pistons, who have won three titles since the Knicks won their last, so insecure they can't stomach their coach waxing nostalgic about his hometown team? Please.

    Brown's wife, Shelly, denied emphatically the other day that Larry was interested in coaching the Knicks next season. She said he wants to coach here. He said he wants to coach here.

    But Isiah Thomas is keeping the New York position open as long as he can, and yes, if the Pistons fire Brown, you can bet he'd explore the Knicks job, when he's healthy.

    That's not the point, although many think it is. It's not whether Brown will go to Cleveland or New York or wherever. He'll always be coveted somewhere. It's this: Why was there a breakdown between a great coach and a great organization after just two years (far shorter than the normal Brown timetable), making a change possible?

    "I have no idea what's going on, but you're not hearing anything bad from me," Brown said. "Mr. D (Davidson) knows what I'm about. I love the man. I haven't shortchanged anybody. ... I don't want to step down because I don't want to coach anywhere but Detroit, and I'm not ready to retire. I love my team, and I think the players really care for me."


    Saunders still on hold


    Brown missed 17 games during the season after hip surgery and a bladder procedure. The Pistons floundered each time, and management appeared to push Brown to return.

    If the drama affected the players, every team should be so affected. If the Pistons are arrogant enough to think they can plug in Saunders and keep rolling, they'd better be careful. And Saunders had better look closely at the dynamics of this job -- great team to coach, shaky management support.

    By the way, Saunders does have $5.5 million coming from Minnesota this season, so if the Pistons are looking for a contingency plan while waiting for Brown, couldn't Saunders wait, without losing any money?

    Some shriek this is all about the money, about the $18 million-$20 million owed Brown in the remaining three years of his contract. The suggestion is, he's trying to get fired to collect the dough, but I'm not buying that. I do believe the money matters to Davidson, who understandably is reluctant to pay off Brown then see him coach in, say, New York.

    No, this is more about ego and pride and arrogance, on both sides. It's hard to believe Brown is so wounded, so dug in, he'll get fired, or force a buyout, from the best job he's ever had.

    But everyone knows his reputation of wanderlust, so no one should be shocked. More alarming, just two years after dismissing one successful coach in a strange way, the Pistons might be in the same ugly spot, prepared to do it again.

    That's exactly the direction this is headed, unless someone is smart enough and strong enough to step in and stop it.

    You can reach Bob Wojnowski at bob.wojnowski@detnews.com.

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    Rebound King Kstat's Avatar
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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    much as I like Wojo, this is no less balanced than the report in SI. Larry have a weekly interview on Wojo's radio show, and so did Carlisle.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat
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    much as I like Wojo, this is no less balanced than the report in SI. Larry have a weekly interview on Wojo's radio show, and so did Carlisle.
    I read both articles and I'll go with Wojo as being the most balanced. SI puts the blame on Larry Brown, whereas Wojo points out that both sides are at fault and need to have a face to face.

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat
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    much as I like Wojo, this is no less balanced than the report in SI. Larry have a weekly interview on Wojo's radio show, and so did Carlisle.
    do you really think that the article from SI was balanced? It had some venom and spite in it. That Ian guy from SI was on Jamie and Brady show(morning Detroit sports show) and he sounded so fake to me.

    Wojo's is article is definitely balanced in that he lays blame on both sides and asks what each other would do if they were in the other sides position.
    I think Larry has a good point in that other franchises, if they really respect and like their coach, would give him as much time as he need and let him decide. They would do it for players why not for a coach.

    As much as I respect Joe D and the Pistons franchise, what they did to Carlisle after being so successful and the smearing that they did in the press afterwards was very bad. At the time, it was more than a basketball move. It has proved out to be good for the Pistons, but Larry would not have won without Rasheed.

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    yeah, and the way the Pacers treated zeke was all class.....

    You don't see me chastizing them for it, though. That was a buisness decision, and so was when the Pistons fired carlisle.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat
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    yeah, and the way the Pacers treated zeke was all class.....

    You don't see me chastizing them for it, though. That was a buisness decision, and so was when the Pistons fired carlisle.

    Isiah did not have the success that Carlisle had with the Pistons. What kind of business? The business of basketball or the business of "power struggle, one more year on a contract, do we extend him or not?"

    And also, the Pacers did not start a smear campaign on Isiah after he was let go. The whole smearing thing was classless because the guy could probably never have gotten a head coaching job if not for Bird

    Their was a mangement change (Larry Bird) and he wanted to bring in hsi people.

    Carlisle was Joe D's guy, what changed? He was winning? was he not?

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat
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    yeah, and the way the Pacers treated zeke was all class.....

    You don't see me chastizing them for it, though. That was a buisness decision, and so was when the Pistons fired carlisle.
    Stop dragging us into Piston affairs.

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat
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    yeah, and the way the Pacers treated zeke was all class.....

    You don't see me chastizing them for it, though. That was a buisness decision, and so was when the Pistons fired carlisle.
    You were pretty p!ssed when word came down of Carlisle's firing.

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shade
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    You were pretty p!ssed when word came down of Carlisle's firing.
    Yeah, I was, until I found out they had a replacement plan.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    This article was pretty much Wojo's initial response on the radio the day the SI report came out and I have to agree that the "they couldn't see a game 7 victory in Larry's eyes" line is paperback romance novel crap.

    On the topic of other team's staying on hold for their coaches. I think thats a poor anaolgy. Sloan, Rudy T, and Don Nelson were all faces of their franchise to a much greater extent then Brown is to Detroit, they all had a pretty long history with their teams. Also, with the Mavs, as soon as they got their "next in line" head coach on the bench they practically threw Nelson (or Nelson threw himself) into the front office. Of course, the first response to that should be that neither Nelson nor Sloan won a championship for their team and that should buy Brown something (to which the reply would be that Detroit was pretty good before Brown got there, so how much should they owe?).

    There is also no comment about what the Piston front office faces should Brown not come back after all this delay, come back and not go the whole season, or even just quit after next year. Right now, there looks to be a half-way decent replacement for Brown. Next season looks much less promising in that department.

    At the very least, its good to see a backlash in the press to the negative comments out of the Piston front office. Either there was no need to play that hand (if indeed they were intentionally leaked) or the ship should have tighter lips (if the comments were not intentionally leaked).

    P.S. I wish Wojo wouldn't use so many "gee-williker" type phrases in his writing. Did his high school newspaper editor never clue him in to the fact that its simply lazy for a reporter to "express" rather than "describe"?

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by pacerwaala
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    The whole smearing thing was classless because the guy could probably never have gotten a head coaching job if not for Bird
    Perhaps I am misunderstanding what you are saying. If you are saying Carlisle
    would have had a difficult time getting another head coaching job, that is simply not true. He might not have gotten one the very next season, but within 12 months he would have without question. It was obvious the job he did with the Pistons

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Now, you all know I'm not a big Rick fan, but the way Detroit treated him is for me what happened to Bo Hill in SA is to Jay.

    People on here always complain that we never hear any Pacers rumors, that they control the local media, etc. I'd rather have that then the vitriol that comes from Detroit's "unnamed sources" on a daily basis. I think it's embarassing, and if Bill Davidson really is such a stand-up guy, he should be ashamed of all the hatchet men his organization seemingly employs.
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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    "daily" is a bit much.

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fool
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    "daily" is a bit much.
    Okay, bi-daily.
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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Still high.

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Actually, I was going to say hourly, but it's probably more like morning, noon, and night.

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by pacerwaala
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    Isiah did not have the success that Carlisle had with the Pistons. What kind of business? The business of basketball or the business of "power struggle, one more year on a contract, do we extend him or not?"

    And also, the Pacers did not start a smear campaign on Isiah after he was let go. The whole smearing thing was classless because the guy could probably never have gotten a head coaching job if not for Bird

    Their was a mangement change (Larry Bird) and he wanted to bring in hsi people.

    Carlisle was Joe D's guy, what changed? He was winning? was he not?
    Early July, 2003.

    Donnie Walsh: "Well, Larry, do you have any ideas?"

    Larry Bird: "I think we should fire Isiah Thomas and hire Rick Carlisle, now that he's available."

    DW: "Definite upgrade. But Jermaine won't re-sign if Isiah's not the coach."

    LB: "Good point."

    DW: "How about if we wait until mid-August to fire Isiah and hire Rick. ."

    LB: "all the while telling Jermaine Isiah will be the coach so he will re-sign."

    DW: "Now you're getting the gist of the business."

    LB: "Thanks, Donnie. Let's go to work."

    DW: "Hey, how about we take that from the Pistons, too."

    LB:


    Sounds about right to me. The way the Pacers treated Isiah was just as bad as the way the Pistons treated Carlisle. The only difference is the upgrade from Isiah to Carlisle is MUCH, MUCH greater than the upgrade from Carlisle to Brown.

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    Perhaps I am misunderstanding what you are saying. If you are saying Carlisle
    would have had a difficult time getting another head coaching job, that is simply not true. He might not have gotten one the very next season, but within 12 months he would have without question. It was obvious the job he did with the Pistons
    Possibly, but it would have been difficult and a reputation is hard to overcome if you get it early in your career.

    You should have been here in the Detroit area when that happened. It was a campaign allright!

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by shags
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    Early July, 2003.

    Donnie Walsh: "Well, Larry, do you have any ideas?"

    Larry Bird: "I think we should fire Isiah Thomas and hire Rick Carlisle, now that he's available."

    DW: "Definite upgrade. But Jermaine won't re-sign if Isiah's not the coach."

    LB: "Good point."

    DW: "How about if we wait until mid-August to fire Isiah and hire Rick. ."

    LB: "all the while telling Jermaine Isiah will be the coach so he will re-sign."

    DW: "Now you're getting the gist of the business."

    LB: "Thanks, Donnie. Let's go to work."

    DW: "Hey, how about we take that from the Pistons, too."

    LB:


    Sounds about right to me. The way the Pacers treated Isiah was just as bad as the way the Pistons treated Carlisle. The only difference is the upgrade from Isiah to Carlisle is MUCH, MUCH greater than the upgrade from Carlisle to Brown.

    Isiah did not have as much success as Carlisle did with the Pistons. There were grounds for firing for losing to the Celtics.

    As far as Jermaine goes, his agent would not have let him lose the extra year and the extra 13-15 million for signing with the same team. I personally think he would have signed that MAX contract if Fred Carter was the coach. I think it is media hype than anything.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    The difference between Isiah and Carlisle is Isiah could talk a good game but couldn't coach one.

    And IMHO Isiah should never have been kept on the bench as long as he was. In Isiah's defense he wasn't exactly given the most balanced of teams, especially for a rookie coach... OTOH... what separates the wheat from the chaff is the ability to get more out your team than the individual parts would suggest. End of season tailspins aren't very indicative of quality coaching.

    Isiah was WAY overpaid for what he brought to the Pacers.

    As for Carlisle in Detroit... He seemed fine with things as they went down so perhaps there's more to the story than we know. Having a chance to get Larry Brown to coach your team is IMHO worth the drama... just don't be surprised with he gets a 'travellin' Jones'.

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    Edit: Just comparing Carlisle's clock management game in - game out to Isiah's should show anyone who is paying attention that Isiah had a LOT to learn.
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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by shags
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    Early July, 2003.

    Donnie Walsh: "Well, Larry, do you have any ideas?"

    Larry Bird: "I think we should fire Isiah Thomas and hire Rick Carlisle, now that he's available."

    DW: "Definite upgrade. But Jermaine won't re-sign if Isiah's not the coach."

    LB: "Good point."

    DW: "How about if we wait until mid-August to fire Isiah and hire Rick. ."

    LB: "all the while telling Jermaine Isiah will be the coach so he will re-sign."

    DW: "Now you're getting the gist of the business."

    LB: "Thanks, Donnie. Let's go to work."

    DW: "Hey, how about we take that from the Pistons, too."

    LB:


    Sounds about right to me. The way the Pacers treated Isiah was just as bad as the way the Pistons treated Carlisle. The only difference is the upgrade from Isiah to Carlisle is MUCH, MUCH greater than the upgrade from Carlisle to Brown.
    Actually, I've always felt it was Jermaine that was treated poorly in that situation much more than Isiah. With JO, we know they told him one thing while ending up turning right around and doing the opposite. They may or may not have promised Isiah anything. Doesn't mean it was fun for Zeke, but JO took it harder than anybody.

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by shags
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    The way the Pacers treated Isiah was just as bad as the way the Pistons treated Carlisle.
    Now, everybody knows I love Zeke, but that's bull****. Indiana didn't leak 5000 stories on what a jackass Isiah was to justify the firing.
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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks
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    Actually, I've always felt it was Jermaine that was treated poorly in that situation much more than Isiah. With JO, we know they told him one thing while ending up turning right around and doing the opposite. They may or may not have promised Isiah anything. Doesn't mean it was fun for Zeke, but JO took it harder than anybody.
    That's more accurate. Donnie Walsh & Larry Bird FLAT OUT LIED to Jermaine O'Neal. Maybe he would have re-signed with Carlisle as coach, maybe not. Who knows? Pacers management made darn sure that wasn't an option, though.

    At the end of the day, both the Pistons and Pacers ended up with much better situations. So there was no harm done.

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    Default Re: A more balanced read on Larry Brown.

    Quote Originally Posted by shags
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    That's more accurate. Donnie Walsh & Larry Bird FLAT OUT LIED to Jermaine O'Neal. Maybe he would have re-signed with Carlisle as coach, maybe not. Who knows? Pacers management made darn sure that wasn't an option, though.

    At the end of the day, both the Pistons and Pacers ended up with much better situations. So there was no harm done.
    Excpet for the fact that it planted the seed that led me to stop getting season tickets.

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