Saying his “mission has been accomplished,” M.L. Carr joked and laughed Wednesday as he resigned as coach after the worst season in Boston Celtic history.
He will stay on as director of basketball operations, a post he has held for three seasons, and said he would be involved in the search for a “career coach” to replace him on the bench.
That might be Rick Pitino. Although he repeatedly has said he wants to stay as coach of Kentucky, the Boston Globe on Wednesday quoted an unidentified source as saying there was a “95% chance” that Pitino would land in Boston.
The Celtics’ 16 championships are an NBA record, but they were only 48-116 under Carr and missed the playoffs both seasons.
Now the Celtics, who finished 15-67 this season, reap the benefits of that ineptitude, since the second-worst record in the NBA gives them the best chance for this year’s top draft pick. Vancouver, which was 14-68, is not eligible because of the expansion agreement under which it entered the league. The Celtics will learn their drafting order May 18.
Boston has another lottery pick from the trade of Eric Montross to Dallas before last season.
Larry Brown is on the road again. He quit as coach of the Indiana Pacers and immediately flew to Philadelphia to search for the next stop in his 25-year coaching odyssey.
Expressing frustration with players he felt he no longer could teach and direct, Brown resigned with two years remaining on his contract. His four years at Indiana were the longest of his five stints coaching NBA teams.
This season the Pacers finished 39-43 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1989.
“I’m leaving because I think it’s time to move on,” Brown said. “This year was really disappointing. I didn’t accomplish what I was hired to do.”
Along with the coaching vacancy at Philadelphia, Brown’s name also has been linked to openings at Boston and Golden State.
Pacer President Donnie Walsh said he had talked to Bird, an Indiana legend, about the Pacer job, but said those discussions were preliminary.
Brown, 56, is sixth on the list of career pro coaching victories with a 624-480 record. In four seasons with the Pacers, Brown became the winningest coach in the franchise’s history at 190-138, including a franchise NBA record 52-30 in both the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons. The Pacers had never won an NBA playoff series before he arrived, and he took them to the Eastern Conference finals in 1994 and 1995.
Point guard Allen Iverson, whose first pro season was filled with spectacular plays and a series of controversies, will be named NBA rookie of the year, according to the Associated Press.
The Philadelphia 76ers scheduled a news conference today.
Iverson, 21, was the leading rookie scorer this year with an average of 23.5 points, sixth overall in the NBA.
Horace Grant, who has sat out the first three games of Orlando’s playoff series against the Miami Heat, is unhappy with the way the Magic medical staff has handled his injured right wrist.
The club lists the forward with a severe sprain. Grant, however, sought a second opinion and was told by Orlando specialist Dr. George White that his wrist may have a slight fracture.
Team physician Jim Barnett denied the injury has been mishandled.
The San Antonio Spurs have exercised an option not to extend a contract to guard Vernon Maxwell for next season.
Maxwell, 31, becomes a free agent.