Flip Saunders reached an agreement yesterday to become coach of the Detroit Pistons, who wasted no time replacing Larry Brown.

The former coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves signed a four-year contract worth about $20 million plus incentives.

The hiring of Saunders and the terms of his contract were confirmed by three league sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the financial information and the team's plans to announce the hiring at a news conference today.

Following talks between Pistons President Joe Dumars and Saunders's agent, the deal -- which includes more than $6 million in incentives -- was finalized early yesterday evening.

The appointment comes just one day after the Pistons finalized their severance agreement with Brown, who led Detroit to the NBA Finals in each of the past two seasons.

In 91/2 seasons with Minnesota, Saunders had a record of 411-326 before his firing in February.

Larry Brown's agent, Joe Glass, said he expects him to make a decision on his future in the next couple of weeks.

Knicks President Isiah Thomas spoke to Brown, 64, on the telephone Tuesday night, just hours after the Pistons announced they were parting ways.

"They talked last night and agreed to meet in person in the next few days," Knicks spokesman Joe Favorito said. The New York Daily News reported yesterday that the Knicks were prepared to offer Brown as much as $60 million over five years.

* SWIMMING: Laura Wilkinson won the 10-meter platform diving event at the world swimming championships in Montreal, giving the United States its second gold medal of the day.

Chip Peterson won the 10-kilometer open water swimming race for the first American gold.

Wilkinson, 27, the 2000 Olympic platform champion, finished first with 564.87 points six months after wrist surgery.

Peterson won the open water race in 1 hour 46 minutes 38.1 seconds.

* TENNIS: Jennifer Capriati will miss the U.S. Open, Aug. 29-Sept. 11, with a shoulder injury, making her the only woman who has won a Grand Slam title in the past five years not on the event's entry list.

Major champions Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Lindsay Davenport, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Anastasia Myskina and reigning U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova head the women's field.

-- From News Services