A year after turning to the inexperienced duo of Johnny Davis and Brad Greenberg to begin their revival, the Philadelphia 76ers will now turn the job over to veteran coach Larry Brown.
The 76ers scheduled a morning press conference today to announce the hiring of Brown, team sources told The Associated Press. Vice president Dave Coskey would say only that there would be a "major announcement."Brown did not return a phone call to his Los Angeles home. Terms of the deal were not available.
Pat Croce, 76ers president and part owner, acknowledged last week that he had an interview with Brown hours after he resigned as coach of the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. Brown said later that he was coming back to Philadelphia for a second interview this weekend.
Although he has said he wanted some say in the team's personnel decisions, the sources, who requested anonymity, indicated he will not have the general manager's job.
Croce fired general manager Greenberg and coach Davis April 20 after the 76ers finished the season 22-60, the third worst record in team history.
After hiring Greenberg and Davis - neither of whom had experience in their new jobs - last year when he took over the team, Croce now has decided to go with Brown, who has a track record of improving teams, then moving on after a few years.
Brown has been a head coach in college, the NBA or the ABA in each of the last 24 seasons, compiling a record of 1,091-702 (.608). The highlights were an NCAA title in 1988 with Kansas and a loss to Louisville in the 1980 final with UCLA.
He has an 853-587 regular-season record as a pro coach in a career that started in 1972 with the ABA's Carolina Cougars and continued with stops at Denver in both the ABA and NBA, the New Jersey Nets, the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers.
Brown spent the past four seasons with the Pacers, but resigned after a 39-43 finish kept them out of the playoffs this year. In each of the previous two seasons, however, Indiana was 52-30.
His job with the 76ers won't be easy. Although they have point guard Allen Iverson, named the rookie of the year Thursday, the complimentary cast is thin.
Jerry Stackhouse, the team's other star, has one year left on his contract and has indicated he might not renegotiate if the 76ers don't reverse the losing that has resulted in a 194-342 record over the last six seasons.
Both Iverson, the first overall pick in last year's draft, and Stackhouse, the third overall choice in 1995, were lottery picks. Philadelphia will have another one this year.
But with nine players already having guaranteed contracts, the 76ers have little room under the salary cap to bring in additional talent.