Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Prediction: There Will Be A Brown-out In Detroit

Pistons owner Bill Davidson is a man who believes fiercely in loyalty -- both from employer to employee and vice-versa. The lack of the latter, or at least the perceived lack, is what cost Dick Vitale his job as Pistons coach, and it cost Isiah Thomas a chance to be Joe Dumars in the team's front office. And those are just two examples, but two of the highest profile ones.

And now, I believe, it has cost Larry Brown his job as the Pistons coach as well.

Brown's dramatics run against Mr. D's grain, but he would have been able to abide that, it says here, if there hadn't been this nonsense with the Cleveland Cavaliers during this year's playoff run. The sloppy courtship of Brown by Cleveland did not set well with Davidson at all. What's worse, it appears now that the reason the Cavs came calling might have been because Brown himself initiated talks with them back in March, some reports indicate. Now Davidson has called a meeting today with Brown, his agent Joe Glass, and Dumars to discuss Larry's future with the Pistons.

Well, here's the future: there ain't none. I predict the result of this meeting will be the buyout of Brown's contract, and a parting of ways. Davidson has had enough. The in-season distractions were bad enough -- the health (unavoidable, of course, but still there), the foolish comments about New York being a "dream job", the whining about the brawl, and the strange changing of gears about when he would return to the bench -- but when it carried into the playoffs, that was just about the last straw. Now, if Davidson believes the reports that the Cleveand discussions may have been started by Brown himself, then the camel's back is breaking.

Davidson doesn't put up with anything that smacks of disloyalty or divided attention. One of his first moves as the Pistons new majority owner was to trade Dave Bing -- yes, THAT Dave Bing -- because Bingo had the nerve to want to renegotiate his contract in the summer of 1975. Nowadays, that would not cause Davidson to react in such a way. But 30 years ago, Mr. D thought it unseemly to declare such a thing. But as the years moved on, there were still other examples of Davidson reacting in the most extreme way to what he believed to be disloyal behavior. When Vitale started whispering into reporters -- and others' -- ears that he felt ownership wasn't committed to winning, that whispering eventually landed in Davidson's ears. Bye-bye, Dickie. When Isiah made an assumption that he was going to move right from the lockerroom to the front office and declared so publicly, then started entertaining other offers, Davidson pulled the rug right out from Zeke's feet.

So the meeting will apparently occur today, and while the actual decision to release Brown might not be revealed today, I don't think it will be long before that is what ultimately happens. Davidson's history says so, even if the coach in question is a Hall of Famer and one of the best around. Of course, Brown fans should only point to my prediction of how Game 7 of the Finals would turn out to hold out hope that I'm wrong.

But results of games are subject to all sorts of variables. Bill Davidson doesn't have many of those.

No comments: