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Brown, Silas Fall Into Place

As expected, the coaches join the Pistons and Cavaliers, which may also influence the other seven openings.

June 03, 2003|Elliott Teaford | Times Staff Writer

Scratch two names off the Clippers' list of coaching candidates. Larry Brown was hired Monday as coach of the Detroit Pistons and Paul Silas was hired by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The hirings were both expected, and there are still seven vacancies around the NBA. In addition to the Clippers, the Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards are seeking new coaches.

Meanwhile, former Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said he had two interviews lined up this week while the NBA's pre-draft camp is held in Chicago, although he refused to name the teams. Also, TNT analyst Mike Fratello withdrew from the Hornets' coaching search Monday, leaving Brian Hill and Tim Floyd as the only candidates the team has identified.

How close the Clippers are to announcing a new coach remained uncertain Monday afternoon. They fired Alvin Gentry on March 3, with the team in last place in the Pacific Division with a 19-39 record, and replaced him with Dennis Johnson.

"I have nothing new to report," said Joe Safety, the team's vice president of communications. "We're still going through the process of talking to a lot of people. We'll leave the speculation up to others at this point and continue to go about our business."

General Manager Elgin Baylor was in Chicago for the pre-draft camp and not available for comment. It's believed Baylor will be conducting interviews with candidates, but Safety refused to name names and could neither confirm nor deny that Carlisle would be one of those interviewed.

It also remains unclear whether the Clippers might retain Johnson, removing the interim tag.

Brown, who quit last week as coach of the 76ers with two seasons remaining on his contract, reportedly will be paid $25 million over the next five seasons. His task is to make a good team better.

The Pistons won two division titles and 100 regular-season games under Carlisle the last two seasons, but failed to advance past the Eastern Conference finals. The New Jersey Nets swept them this spring.

"This is a team I admired from afar," Brown, 62, said of the Pistons, his seventh NBA team, which includes an 18-month stint with the Clippers in the early 1990s.

Brown's coaching record is 879-685 in the NBA and 1,285-853 overall, including the American Basketball Assn., and college. He is the only American to coach and play for the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team.

Silas' mandate is more complex. He will be asked to mentor budding standouts Ricky Davis, Darius Miles and Dajuan Wagner while grooming probable No. 1 draft pick LeBron James.

Cleveland has four consecutive 50-loss seasons, but suddenly has become a very hot ticket in town.

John Lucas was fired after the Cavaliers got off to an 8-34 start and was replaced by Keith Smart. The team finished last overall in the league standings with a 17-65 mark and won the draft lottery for the chance to pick James, a high school phenom from nearby Akron, Ohio.

"The only promise I'll make is this team will play hard," said Silas, 59, who was fired last month by the New Orleans Hornets. Terms of his contract were not available.

Silas served as the Clippers' coach from 1980-83, when they were based in San Diego.

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Associated Press contributed to this story.

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NBA Coaches' Revolving Door

*--* Two of the nine NBA coaching vacancies were filled Monday. The list (*interim coach): Team 2002-03 Coach Replacement Atlanta Hawks Lon Kruger *Terry Stotts (Dec. 26) Cleveland Cavaliers John Lucas-x Paul Silas Detroit Pistons Rick Carlisle Larry Brown Houston Rockets Rudy Tomjanovich CLIPPERS Alvin Gentry *Dennis Johnson (March 3) New Orleans Hornets Paul Silas Philadelphia 76ers Larry Brown Toronto Raptors Lenny Wilkens Washington Wizards Doug Collins x-Keith Smart was hired as interim coach in place of Lucas on Jan. 20

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