Croce Gets Ok To Talk With Brown

Posted: April 24, 1997

Pat Croce phoned Indiana Pacers president Donnie Walsh yesterday and obtained permission to speak to coach Larry Brown.

Croce, the 76ers' president, is in search of replacements for coach Johnny Davis and general manager Brad Greenberg, both of whom were fired Sunday.

Brown, a coach in the ABA, NBA and NCAA since 1972-73, has built a record of 190-138 in four seasons with the Pacers, and taken them to the Eastern finals in 1994-95 and '95-96.

Brown, 56, has two years remaining on his contract, but also has been contacted by the Boston Celtics.

The Pacers finished this season 39-43, the third losing season in Brown's career.

Brown has been at his home in Los Angeles, where his wife, Shelly, was expected to give birth today to the couple's second child, a daughter.

Croce, who has been vacationing, was unavailable for comment. Since expressing his interest in Kentucky coach Rick Pitino, Croce has said he would not discuss specifics of his search.

``[Brown's] a great coach, but I won't try and keep him if he wants to leave,'' Walsh said. ``He told me he wants to sit and think, but he knows I need a decision quickly.''

Brown was contacted by Celtics owner Paul Gaston and special assistant Larry Bird.

A third party, working on behalf of Croce, contacted Walsh earlier this week.

``I'm not comparing Indiana to anybody, I'm not trying to bargain,'' Brown told the Indianapolis Star-News.

``My focus is, should I come back or not?I want to do what's right by everybody.''

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