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Sixers OK Brown-UNC Talks

Philadelphia 76ers coach Larry Brown has been granted permission to speak to North Carolina about the coaching job at his alma mater.

Dean Smith contacted Sixers president Pat Croce on Friday regarding Brown, one day after Kansas coach Roy Williams turned down the Tar Heels.

Brown, who joined the 76ers in 1997 after four seasons with the Indiana Pacers, signed a multiyear extension in March.

"I'm expecting Larry not to leave. I have to think positively," Croce said.

It is believed Brown has an escape clause that allows him to accept a college coaching position. Brown has long been rumored as a candidate to return to North Carolina because of his relationship with Smith.

"I want to see my kids grow up here ... and I hope that I will be connected with this team for a long time," Brown said when he signed his extension with the Sixers. "And certainly, with a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old, if they grow up here, I've got a long way to go."

But Brown's problems with 76ers star Allen Iverson might drive him out of Philadelphia. The two have clashed since Brown joined the Sixers, and Iverson reportedly was fined nearly 75 times last season for being late to practice.

Brown said last week that Iverson must become more of a team player for the Sixers to be successful.

Iverson, however, insists he and Brown can coexist.

"Obviously, this is something he wants to look at," Iverson said from Virginia, where he is hosting a charity event. "I wish him the best whatever he wants to do. I've said for a long time, I can play under Coach Brown. I don't have a problem with Coach."

Brown began his coaching career with the ABA's Carolina Cougars in 1972, and has coached Denver, New Jersey, San Antonio and the Los Angeles Clippers. He led Kansas to the 1988 NCAA title, and also coached UCLA.

He led the 76ers to the Eastern Conference semifinals the last two seasons after a seven-year absence.

The coaching position at North Carolina came open last week when Bill Guthridge retired.

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