The Los Angeles Lakers aren’t just shuffling coaches this offseason, with former Cavs head coach Mike Brown replacing Phil Jackson, they are shuffling announcers as well. Out are TV play by play man Joel Meyers and radio play by play man Spero Dedes. Replacing them are Fox Sports West’s Bill MacDonald on the TV side and ESPN Radio’s John Ireland on the radio side. The plan of the Lakers was to have the 31 year old Dedes, one of the rising stars in broadcasting, to do play by play on television, but Dedes reportedly had a change of heart late in the game… because he will do play by play for the New York Knicks instead. Here’s the report:
Industry sources say that Dedes has already accepted a job as the radio and TV play-by-play man for the New York Knicks, a contract that will allow him to continue working for CBS on the NFL and college basketball.
The job effectively is replacing Gus Johnson on Knicks’ radio games, but would allow Dedes to move to the TV side when Mike Breen leaves to do a network assignment for ESPN or ABC.
As far as the Lakers side goes, they’ve struggled to find an established voice to fill the mic of the legendary Chick Hearn after he passed away in 2002, going through multiple announcers on TV and radio. Dedes looked like he may have been that guy, but now he’s leaving the team and leaving Los Angeles back at square one. I can’t speak to Ireland’s play by play abilities, but I’ve always taken a liking to Billy Mac, even back in the days when he hosted the Carl’s Jr. Sports Roundtable (how’s that for an obscure reference). As for Dedes, calling games for the Lakers and Knicks and working several national duties by age 31 is quite an impressive feat. Dedes is from New Jersey and has worked Nets games in the past, so the move back East makes sense. Also, the Knicks radio job will allow Dedes to continue appearing on the national stage with CBS, where he’s done NFL and NCAA Tournament games recently.