ESPN may have calmed down on its layoffs, but they are still making huge decisions within the company.
ESPN changed its top NBA broadcast team for the upcoming season, adding Doris Burke and Doc Rivers to call games with Mike Breen. They do so after letting Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson go. The move comes despite Jackson and Van Gundy being a part of the network’s NBA Finals coverage since 2007.
The Worldwide Leader in Sports wasn’t done making decisions.
Ryan Ruocco, JJ Redick, and Richard Jefferson will be the No. 2 team for NBA games while veteran announcer Mark Jones, who’s often worked on the No. 2 team, has been relegated to the No. 3 team or the No. 4 team.
Many fans and analysts don’t understand why ESPN chose to shake things up, and that includes an analyst from the network’s competitor. TNT analyst Kenny Smith said he was as confused as anyone as to why ESPN fired Jackson and Van Gundy.
“I’m not really sure how they’re [ESPN] doing it. I’m not really versed on why they’re doing all their cuts and how, is it budgetary? Because certain guys are getting let go, and then you hire someone else for more money. I have no idea why they’re doing it, but stability is what brings success,” Smith told Andrew Cohen of Front Office Sports.
Smith is proud of what TNT has developed with Inside the NBA.
Smith, Barkley, and Johnson have worked together since 2000, while O’Neal joined permanently in 2011.
The NBA 2023-24 regular season will start in October.
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