Michael Wilbon's role on NBA Countdown is going to be scaled back for the upcoming NBA season according to a report from The Big Lead. According to TBL's Jason McIntyre, Wilbon is going to be focusing more on his role with Tony Kornheiser hosting Pardon the Interruption, which has suffered in recent years with Wilbon's NBA commitments.
Replacing Wilbon on the Countdown set will likely be a familiar face: former 76ers coach Doug Collins, who will be entering his third stint as a commentator. McIntyre states that the contract between ESPN and Collins isn't finalized yet, but they are negotiating and he's the front runner among three former coaches to take over Wilbon's chair. Collins would immediately become the most talented and experienced member of the Countdown panel, which will bring Magic Johnson, Bill Simmons, and Jalen Rose back for the 2013-14 season.
This is probably a good move for everyone involved. Wilbon's partnership with Kornheiser is what brought him renown at ESPN, and letting the two focus on their dynamic together is the logical course of action. Wilbon will still make sporadic appearances on Countdown, which seems like a smart move to make his appearances more noteworthy.
As for the rest of the news involving Countdown, having Collins at the desk is something that will help, as he can play a better traffic cop role than any of the other personalities featured. ESPN's experiments with Countdown have been interesting at the very least, and they're still tweaking the format going forward.