NBA rumors: As it turns out, ESPN is not yet done with its ruthless purge this summer, which has now claimed the jobs of no less than 10 on-air personalities. This now includes former NBA All-Star point guard Mark Jackson, who now follows co-commentator Jeff Van Gundy on the unemployed list after the former coach was fired by the sports broadcasting giant earlier this summer.
NBA Rumors: JJ Redick, Richard Jefferson Moving Up Amid Mark Jackson Axing
Jackson’s exit has now opened the door to the emergence of two ESPN hosts who have ties with the Milwaukee Bucks. In fact, as Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports, Jackson’s firing may have been partly motivated by the rise of JJ Redick and Richard Jefferson:
“ESPN was looking at keeping Jackson as part of a ‘B’ team with Mark Jones. However, network executives really like JJ Redick and Richard Jefferson as game analysts and are keen on assigning them better games,” Marchand wrote.
Both Redick and Jefferson have brief stints with the Bucks during their respective careers. They have since both moved on to broadcasting and clearly, ESPN’s brass likes what it sees from both men. Redick and Jefferson have been prominent figures in the network over the past year or so, and they’re now going to be stepping into bigger roles in the near future.
NBA Rumors: Doc Rivers, Doris Burke Primed to Take on Mark Jackson’s Recently-Vacated Post
According to Marchand’s report, ESPN realized that Jackson’s “effectiveness was tied to Van Gundy,” which also appears to have been a major factor in their decision to part ways with the former NBA Rookie of the Year. Both men will now be looking to move on to greener pastures, and given their relationship, it would not be surprising if these two cross paths again soon.
ESPN did not let Jackson go without eyeing his potential replacement, particularly when it comes to their coverage of the NBA Finals. As it turns out, veteran commentator Doris Burke and former Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers are now primed to step in:
“In the wake of Van Gundy’s layoff last month, ESPN set its eyes on making Burke the first woman TV analyst on the NBA Finals and hiring Rivers to join Hall of Fame play-by-player Mike Breen. The deals are not finalized, but are quickly moving in that direction,” Marchand reported.
ESPN is taking a major risk here, but you just know that their shrewd decisions have been given a lot of thought by some of the top minds in the industry. There’s going to be some major changes in ESPN this coming season, and we shall soon see if they will pan out as expected.
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