Coaches happy for Phil

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- One thing the much-travelled Larry Brown never has done is go back to a place where he has coached before.

So Brown, the coach of the Detroit Pistons, was asked last night if he can imagine what it's going to be like for Phil Jackson going back to coach the Los Angeles Lakers.

"Don't get me into that stuff," said Brown, who this spring has been unable to keep a lid on rampant but legitimate speculation about his own future.

"I'm happy the guy's back in the league. I think he's a great coach. I don't know how you can make a better choice than a guy who has won nine championships and has done a lot for our game."

Last year, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich likened the breakup of the Jackson-Shaquille O'Neal-Kobe Bryant Lakers to the breakup of the Soviet Union. So is this like Leonid Breshnev coming back?

"More like (Mikhail) Gorbachev," Popovich said. "He was a little looser, a little more laid-back than Breshnev."

EUROPEAN VACATION

Four NBA teams will hold training camps overseas and play pre-season games against European pro clubs in 2006 and 2007. The teams have yet to be determined.

"A lot of people don't want to go over there because they think it hurts them for the season, but we think just the opposite," Popovich said. "We think it's a great opportunity for camaraderie, to be in a different situation, to get to know each other. I wouldn't care if our whole training camp were over there."

MANU-MANIA

The performance of Argentine guard Manu Ginobili helped attract a record global TV audience of an estimated 115 million for Game 2 of the NBA final on Sunday. Game 1 last Thursday attracted an estimated 105 million viewers.


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