With one-year assistant Lawrence Frank off to lead the Detroit Pistons out of their current morass, the Celtics are in the market for a new lead assistant. Last week, Yahoo! Sports NBA maven Adrian Wojnarowski reported that veteran coach/hemmer and hawer Larry Brown has expressed interest in being just that guy.
Brown, 70, who resigned (or was pushed out, depending on your perspective) as coach of the Charlotte Bobcats last December, has coached nine different NBA teams in his career and taken eight of them to the postseason, a league record. When he coached the Los Angeles Clippers in 1992, he had a veteran point guard by the name of Doc Rivers, and their relationship has lasted ever since.
Apparently, Rivers and Brown's discussion regarding an assistant position in Boston dates back to 2007, when Brown was a consultant for the Philadelphia 76ers. Brown ultimately decided to stay on in Philly, leading to the Celtics' hiring of Tom Thibodeau as Doc's top lieutenant, a move that would wind up being a massive boon for the Celts (one championship, another trip to the Finals with Thibs as their de facto defensive coordinator) and Thibodeau (currently the head coach of the Chicago Bulls as well as the reigning NBA Coach of the Year).
If Brown is to come on, Celtics fans had better hope that he does so with the full knowledge that he's here to be Rivers' top assistant and defensive guru, period. Brown is the NBA's version of Hamlet, a wishy-washy narcissist notorious for publicly lamenting everything that pops into his head the moment he feels something in his purview may be amiss.
This past season, for example, after leading the Bobcats to their first-ever postseason appearance in 2010 then seeing his starting point guard Raymond Felton sign elsewhere as a free agent, Brown reportedly gave up on his young team right at the time they needed as much positive reinforcement as possible (at one point he was even quoted as saying that part of him died inside when Felton left, surely what the players on the roster who were still around were dying to hear).
Such selfish behavior has trailed Brown his entire career. His toxic relationship with Stephon Marbury torpedoed his disastrous, one-year tenure with the Knicks. Not even a few months removed from his first and only championship, with Detroit in 2004, the Pistons reportedly felt he was planning his exit strategy for that Knicks job. The only one of his nine jobs that has lasted more than four seasons was with Philly, where, to his credit, he was the only coach to ever get through to Allen Iverson. He is the textbook definition of a self-promoter.
Perhaps with the spotlight turned off him, if he comes to Boston, Brown will simply attend to his responsibilities as assistant coach and not spend all of his time whining or complaining or looking to get out. He's had a ton of success in his career and is perhaps even Hall of Fame-worthy (his career NBA record is 1,098-904). Imagine how much more successful he could have been if he'd been able to just do his job and not be struck with a constant case of wanderlust?
Brown has always been known as a defensive-oriented coach, he commands respect based on his record and he is tight with Rivers. If he is to replace Frank, it could be a solid hire for the Celtics. But that's a very big if.