Larry Brown was in fact fired by the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday after guiding the team to back-to-back NBA finals appearances, according to reports from Detroit.
Brown and the Pistons reached a settlement on the final three years of his contract, Pistons spokesman Matt Dobek said.
He is free to coach another team next season, Dobek said but declined to provide further details.
Asked if the team had fired Brown, Dobek replied: "Say what youwant."
The team didn't want the Hall of Fame coach back and had offered a payoff, Brown's agent, Joe Glass, said on Tuesday.
"I take umbrage with the Pistons, or sources, saying it's a buyout," Glass was quoted by the AP as saying before the announcement. "A buyout encompasses a mutual agreement, and that'snot what is happening. Larry Brown is saying, 'I want to coach thePistons,' and they want to pay him off for whatever reason."
Brown is expected to be replaced by former Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders.
Two years ago, Detroit signed Brown to a five-year contract worth about $25 million (euro 20 million), plus incentive bonuses.He guided the Pistons to the NBA championship in 2004 and came onevictory away from repeating this year.
The 64-year-old Brown was hospitalized for treatment of a medical problem that developed from complications following hip surgery in November and persisted after a second procedure in March.
He checked into the Mayo Clinic the morning after last month's NBA draft, less than a week after Detroit lost Game 7 of the finals to the San Antonio Spurs.