With Game Seven looming in what has been a compelling Eastern Conference Finals (a series so gripping, I’ve had nothing to say about it, not even the bit where Rasheed Wallace channelled the spirit of the late Jeff Van Gundy and hinted that the league and its officials would conspire to make a 7th game a reality), once again, we’re back to Larry Brown. Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen predicts that the Pistons coach will ultimately reject Cleveland’s overtures. The New York Post’s Peter Vescey, however, offers reasons why Detroit will not complain of tampering nor shed many tears if Larry leaves.
‘Ask yourself who is the largest advertising customer for the Pistons,” underlines a vigilant column monitor, “and spends more money with them than anyone other than their broadcast partners ” and you have your answer why the Cavaliers have such leeway” regarding the romancing of Larry Brown.
That customer is Quicken Loans, a home loan firm owned by Dan Gilbert, a Pistons season-ticket holder and Michigan native.
“It’s a huge deal for the Pistons,” resumes the sophisticate. “They get rid of Larry and their [remaining three year, $21 million] contractual obligation to him. If he retired sick, especially if they win this year, the Pistons would feel obliged to pay him.
“So they push Larry’s salary to Cleveland and keep their biggest customer happy.
“That’s good business. Who cares what Larry says or does?”
Meanwhile, Brown’s doctors are confiding to hospital technicians that Larry may no longer be up to coaching, but he’s more than capable of those day-to-day rigors of changing jobs.