DETROIT – All indications are that Larry Brown’s days as the Detroit Pistons’ coach are over.

The Pistons worked on the final details of a buyout Monday, but made no announcement. One team source said: “It’s way too sensitive to comment on right now.”

An announcement is expected soon, perhaps Tuesday.

But several news outlets, including ESPN.com and SI.com, reported that Brown was gone for sure. Joe Dumars, the Pistons’ president of basketball operations, wouldn’t confirm or deny those reports.

Joe Glass, Brown’s agent, acknowledged that the sides negotiated again Monday, but said no settlement had been reached.

“Larry’s not quitting,” Glass said. “He wants to be the Pistons’ coach on Oct. 3, but seeing that the Pistons supposedly have already talked to Flip Saunders, that doesn’t look like it’s going to be a possibility.

“Health-wise, emotionally and spiritually, Larry wants to coach. What’s going to happen next – I will talk to the Pistons (Tuesday) and move forward.”

Former Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders is the leading candidate to replace Brown.

Brown’s future has been uncertain for months, and the Pistons apparently lost patience with all the uncertainty. After the season, Brown underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic for a bladder problem, which has bothered him since midway through last season.

When the Pistons and Brown met last week, Brown couldn’t guarantee that he would be healthy for all of the upcoming season. He missed 17 games last season after having surgery twice – for a hip replacement and first of his two surgeries for the bladder problem.

During the playoffs, Brown was contacted by the Cleveland Cavaliers about becoming their president of basketball operations, but those negotiations fizzled. New York newspapers also have reported that the Knicks are interested in hiring Brown as their coach.

Pistons owner Bill Davidson likes employees to remain loyal, and the continuing drama over whether he would coach the Pistons another season might have sent the owner over the edge.

“I would like to make it apparent that Larry Brown’s health situation at this point is not a factor because he could, health-wise, come back at least as well as he did last year,” Glass said. “The reports of a buyout or settlement being reached greatly disturb both me and Larry. Any monetary exchange would be because of a settlement that would sever the ties between both parties.”

Brown has three years and $18 million left on a contract he signed in June 2003.

Brown, 64, knew last week when the two sides met face-to-face that the Pistons, especially Davidson, wanted him to leave. When he talked to the Free Press last week, Brown had a tone of finality in his voice, adding that “it was nice working with you” at the end of the conversation.

In two seasons with Brown as coach, the Pistons won the 2004 championship and reached Game 7 of the Finals this year.

Brown compiled a 108-56 record with the Pistons and posted his 100th career playoff victory in the process, third-most all-time. He is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.


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