Larry "Next Town" Brown has never been one to stay in one place. So whether this sudden resignation from the Charlotte Bobcats was totally his idea -- and it's very hard to believe that it was -- you had to figure this day was coming.
Brown, 70, has now coached nearly a third of the NBA's 30 teams. His resume is longer than "Of Mice and Men." He's a hall of fame basketball coach and a delight to talk with for writers like me.
But he's also inherently restless -- a perfectionist who eventually wears out his employers and his players, or else vice versa. And Brown's deep insecurities always make him a threat to bolt.
As Richard Vinroot, Charlotte's former mayor and Brown's former roommate at UNC-Chapel Hill, told me about Brown long before he ever was hired in Charlotte (but shortly after things wore out in Detroit, even though Brown had gotten to two straight NBA Finals there and won one of them): "For him, life is either perfect, or he's outta there."
Life certainly wasn't perfect lately for the 9-19 Bobcats, who have not only been losing games but have been losing them by 20 or 30 points. Team owner Michael Jordan obviously was more than miffed at this development -- as majority owner, he now has a lot more skin in this game than he used to.
To be fair, this wasn't all Brown's fault (and I'd wager him resigning it wasn't completely his decision). This team is worse, talent-wise, than last season's. Brown has less to work with, but he was also getting less out of what he has.
It's not just Larry's fault, but you can't trade all the players (much as Brown and Jordan probably would like to on some days). So instead, the coach is gone -- which of course is Jordan's prerogative, but should be explained in more concrete terms by the Bobcats to their fans.
What comes next? In the short term, it's Paul Silas. The Bobcats could hardly do better for an interim coach that they announced only about three hours after announcing Brown was stepping down. Silas is a fine communicator, well-respected everywhere and happens to live in the Charlotte area.
Still, this has been an earthquake of a day in Bobcat-land -- a day that you know must come when you hire Larry Brown, but still one that will leave tremors and aftershocks for months.
9 months ago