Sunday, June 1, 2003

Despite division wins, Pistons fire Carlisle

NBA notebook: Reports say Brown taking over Detroit

The Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Rick Carlisle sat elbow to elbow with the man who had just fired him, Joe Dumars. In a bizarre scene, talk turned to Larry Brown, who will become Detroit's next coach.

"If you think he's going to bring in a stiff behind me, you're nuts," Carlisle said Saturday. "He's going to bring in a big-time guy, and if he can do that, he will have done his job."

Carlisle was fired with one year and $2 million left on his contract despite winning two straight division titles, 100 regular-season games, a Coach of the Year award and leading the Pistons to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1991.

He will be replaced by Brown, who already has reached agreement with the Pistons on a long-term deal, according to a source within the league with knowledge of the discussions between the Pistons and Brown. The source spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, saying the hiring will become official Monday.

Brown resigned as coach of the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday after six seasons. The Sixers released him from a clause that prohibited him from coaching another NBA team if he left Philadelphia prematurely.

Counting Detroit, there are eight NBA coaching vacancies.

Carlisle led the Pistons to a 100-64 regular-season record and a 12-15 postseason mark over two years.

"You can get into a conversation about what may or not be fair, or you can be excited about being at the peak of your career," Carlisle said.

CAVALIERS: The Cavaliers have offered Jeff Van Gundy their vacant head coaching job, according to several NBA sources.

Team owner Gordon Gund agreed to give the former New York coach a five-year contract believed to be worth $25 million after negotiating with his agent Jim Ornstein this week, the sources said.

Van Gundy is mulling the offer, waiting to see how the coaching search plays out for Houston, with which he is also a candidate. Van Gundy said Thursday he is 50 percent sure he'll return to coaching next year. No official announcement on his decision is expected by the team until early next week. But the Cavaliers probably are in no mood to wait considering the number of coaching vacancies in the league and might press Van Gundy to make a choice quickly so the team can move on.

Van Gundy interviewed with the Rockets on Monday, but sources in Houston report he's not the top candidate, falling behind Brown and former Portland coach Mike Dunleavy, both of whom also have interviewed.

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Despite division wins, Pistons fire Carlisle

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This weekend's sports on TV, radio