NEW YORK (AP) – Larry Brown and Herb Williams planned to break bread together Monday night, one of the last steps before Brown decides whether he wants to become head coach of the New York Knicks.

Brown could inform the team of his decision as early as Tuesday.

“If I get involved, it’ll be a go,” Brown’s agent, Joe Glass, said Monday.

The dinner with Williams, the Knicks’ interim coach, came one day after owner James Dolan and team president Isiah Thomas visited Brown at his home in East Hampton, N.Y. Monday represented the seventh consecutive day there was contact between the Knicks and Brown since the 64-year-old coach completed his acrimonious departure from the Pistons.

Detroit gave Brown a $7 million severance settlement for the final three years on his contract, and the Knicks are reportedly prepared to offer Brown from $10 million to $12 million per season.

“There is no timetable,” Glass said in a telephone interview. “Everyone is proceeding in their own manner.”

The meeting between Dolan, Thomas and Brown lasted more than two hours, and none of the principles commented on what was discussed. But the job appears to be Brown’s for the taking.

Monday night’s meeting presumably included a discussion of what role Williams would have under Brown, and whether it would include a spot on the bench as one of Brown’s assistants.

Brown has said he would be uneasy about nudging Williams out of a head coaching position, and Monday’s meeting provided Brown with a chance to get that message across to Williams in person. Williams’ head coaching contract expires July 31, though his assistant coaching contract has one season remaining.

“Situations are always going to work out,” Williams told WNBC-TV while playing in a golf tournament Monday in suburban New York. “You know, a job is a job. You have to approach it that way, you know, that’s what you get paid to do, so you step in and you do the job. You don’t think about anything else.”

Williams has been a fixture in the Knicks organization for nearly a decade and is regarded as one of the franchise’s must trusted and loyal employees. He had a good rapport with the players while coaching the final 43 games of last season after Lenny Wilkens was forced to resign, and he’d be all but certain to remain the head coach if Brown decides to say no to the Knicks.

New York would be Brown’s eighth NBA head coaching job, presenting him with his most difficult challenge since taking over the Philadelphia 76ers in 1997 after they went 22-60 the year before. Brown coaxed another nine victories out of the Sixers in his first season in Philadelphia, got them into the playoffs the following season and made it to the NBA Finals by his fourth year.

In Detroit, Brown won the NBA championship in his first year coaching the Pistons, guiding them to 54 regular-season victories after they had won 50 the prior season under Rick Carlisle.

When Brown took over the Indiana Pacers in 1993, they improved by six victories.

When he took control of the Los Angeles Clippers midway through the 1991-92 season, they were below .500. But he guided them to a 23-12 record over the rest of the season to give the franchise its first playoff berth in 15 years.

“Larry brings something totally different to the table because of his experience, and everyone knows experience rules,” Knicks guard Stephon Marbury said last week. “So for him to be the coach, it’d be great.”

Brown and Williams did not return calls seeking comment.

AP-ES-07-25-05 1822EDT

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