Larry Brown resigned as coach of the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday after six often-turbulent seasons, saying the decision ``has been coming for a long time.''
Brown, a Hall of Famer and one of basketball's most well-traveled coaches, could be a candidate for coaching vacancies in Cleveland, Houston and elsewhere. He said the 76ers have released him from a contractual clause that prohibited him from coaching another NBA team if he left Philadelphia prematurely. Brown had two years left in his contract.
Brown's job with the Sixers was his longest tenure with any team in his 31-year coaching career. He led the team to the playoffs five straight years, including the 2001 NBA Finals, and is to coach the US men's national team this summer at an Olympic qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico.
The 62-year-old Brown had been contemplating stepping down since Philadelphia lost its second-round playoff series to the Detroit Pistons in six games. The Sixers overcame a mediocre start, won 23 of their final 33 games and finished 48-34.
But after beating New Orleans in six games in the first round, the Sixers couldn't get past the top-seeded Pistons, losing twice in overtime and once on a last-second shot that was goaltendered.
"We had a good run," Brown said at a news conference. "I think it's time to get somebody else in here to maybe give a fresh look."
Brown came to Philadelphia in 1997, taking over a perennial loser that hadn't been to the playoffs since 1991. With help from then-president Pat Croce, Brown turned the Sixers from a laughingstock franchise into one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
In 2000-2001, Brown led the Sixers to a 56-26 record and first place in the East. Philadelphia advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in 18 years before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.
Brown had a contentious relationship with Allen Iverson, but the two worked together despite several disputes.
Brown won an NCAA national championship with Kansas University in 1988. He became the first coach to take six NBA teams to the playoffs when the Sixers made it in 1999.
The Sixers were 255-205 under Brown, and 26-30 in the playoffs.
Brown has had winning records in 27 of his 31 seasons as a head coach on the professional and collegiate levels.