Is that a Smile on Dee Brown's Face?

May 7, 1997

Rick Pitino's ascension has at least one of his new players rethinking statements of the past. Suddenly, being a Boston Celtic doesn't sound so bad to Dee Brown.

"I can't wait," an enthused Brown said yesterday from his Florida home. "Hopefully, I'll be there. I know he'll want his people, but the kind of game he coaches is the kind I like to play. So that's exciting to me.

"It's a fresh start for a lot of people, including me. The situation has changed for me, and it's time for everyone, me included, to put up or shut up. We got ourselves into this position for a reason, to get the picks and to get him. If I'm part of the turnaround, I'll be happy."

Brown has three years left on his contract and has been hoping for the last year and a half to be traded. One deal the Celtics are known to have rejected was a swap with Sacramento for Bobby Hurley.

"There's going to be a lot of changes," Brown said. "But I think this was money well spent to get someone with his reputation. His track record speaks for itself. The best thing you can do is get someone who is respected by his peers. That's what we need."

One of Pitino's peers is his former assistant coach and New York Knicks successor, Stu Jackson, now the president and general manager of the Vancouver Grizzlies.

"The Celtics could not have made a better, more logical, or surer choice," said Jackson.

Jackson worked under Pitino both in New York and at Providence College. Having just completed a lengthy season serving as coach and general manager/president, Jackson, who will not coach next season, had some words of advice for his former boss.

"Having done both jobs, I think he needs someone in the front office," Jackson said. "It's hard enough doing one right."

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