NEW YORK (AP) – Larry Brown has been offered a contract by the New York Knicks to become the franchise’s 22nd head coach, his agent said Tuesday.

“An offer has been made, but that doesn’t mean a contract has been completed. Nothing has been finalized,” said Joe Glass, Brown’s longtime agent.

No formal announcement of Brown’s hiring was expected Wednesday, making today the most likely day that Brown will sit at a podium alongside team president Isiah Thomas and owner James Dolan to make things absolutely, positively official.

That scenario, of course, can only happen if there are no snags.

And with the 64-year-old Brown, who has coached seven NBA teams and two college teams, the likelihood of a snag can never be underestimated.

“We’re making progress, and we’re continuing to talk at this point,” Knicks spokesman Joe Favorito said Tuesday.

Glass was not sure when contract negotiations might wrap up.

“Too hard to say,” said Glass, 80, whose son has been an agent for several NBA players. “There’s no time factor as far as we’re concerned. We’ll get it done as soon as we get it done.”

Brown had dinner Monday night with Thomas and interim coach Herb Williams, a meeting that Brown described as “positive.”

Brown had been uneasy about the prospect of displacing Williams as coach.

“That was a huge obstacle for me, not for him,” Brown said. “It’s not at all anymore.”

Brown’s wife, Shelly, had been concerned about her husband’s health. Brown missed 17 games last season due to a hip replacement operation that led to a bladder problem, and Brown underwent his third surgery in nine months shortly after the Pistons lost Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic told Brown he needed rest, and he and his wife have decided he’ll get enough of it during the next two months before training camp begins.

Brown’s two young children also are enthused about the move to New York.

“No one wants this to drag on,” Shelly Brown said. “I know everyone’s on the same page.”

The Knicks’ hiring of Brown would come a little more than a week after he parted ways with the Detroit Pistons after two seasons – both of which ended with trips to the NBA Finals.

Trying to turn the rebuilding Knicks into a winner would be the latest challenge for Brown in a nomadic NBA coaching career that has included stints with the Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets. Brown also coached collegiately at Kansas and UCLA, and his first professional coaching job was with the Carolina Cougars of the ABA.

Brown was the coach of the 2004 U.S. Olympic team that finished a disappointing third. Part of that roster included Knicks guard Stephon Marbury, who would be reunited with Brown.

New York reportedly is willing to offer Brown a five-year contract worth between $50 million and $60 million.

Still unclear is what role Williams would have with the Knicks under Brown, and which of New York’s current assistant coaches might remain with the club.

Williams’ head coaching contract expires Sunday, but his assistant coaching contract has another year left.

The Knicks finished 33-49 last season and missed the playoffs for the third time in four years.

AP-ES-07-26-05 2159EDT


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