The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola at Knicks training camp, where free speech is wholeheartedly enouraged, just so long as Larry Brown doesn’t receive too much credit.
Imagine the courtroom drama that could have unfolded in Manhattan this past week had Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson been asked to testify before NBA commissioner David Stern in Larry Brown’s arbitration hearing.
Under oath, Crawford (above) would paint a very different picture of the head coach the Knicks are trying to portray as devious and borderline crazy. Crawford would admit that while in fact Brown was critical of him, the Knicks guard flourished under Brown and enjoyed the best season of his career. And Crawford would recall that Brown eventually called him “the most improved player I’ve ever coached.”
Richardson’s testimony would be more powerful since the veteran small forward would tell Stern that Brown was only trying to help the team by riding Stephon Marbury with tough love. And yes, Richardson would admit that police had to be called to the Knicks’ training facility in Greenburgh last January because Richardson refused to leave the building until he could fight Marbury.
Neither Crawford nor Richardson was summoned to New York and put in the awkward position of having to defend his former coach in front of his current employer. Instead, a couple of Brown’s pets now tip-toe around the issue of the Hall of Fame coach while trying to adhere to the organization’s unofficial policy of “If You Have Nothing Bad To Say About Larry Keep It To Yourself.”
“We’re not supposed to talk about Larry,” Richardson said yesterday.
Crawford was slightly more forthcoming despite the presence of two media relations officials who were monitoring his interview. “I can say he definitely helped me,” Crawford said quietly. “That’s been well documented.”