The NBA season returns next week, which means we’re getting final network presentation plans.
That includes today’s news from ESPN that Lisa Salters will be the top NBA sideline reporter, working the NBA Finals and other marquee matchups with Mike Breen, Mark Jackson, and the newly-extended Jeff Van Gundy.
Via ESPN’s release:
Mike Breen, the voice of the NBA Finals and Curt Gowdy Media Award-winner, and analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson return to call ESPN’s first NBA game of the season on Wednesday, October 20, at 7:30 p.m. ET as the Boston Celtics visit the New York Knicks. The trio have set records both collectively and individually as the most prolific voices of the NBA Finals and will be together for the top games during the regular season and NBA Playoffs.
ESPN recently re-signed Jeff Van Gundy with a new, multi-year agreement and has all three commentators signed long-term. Lisa Salters will rejoin the trio as ESPN’s lead sideline reporter for its coverage of the NBA Finals, Conference Finals, NBA Playoffs, NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC presented by Oculus from Facebook series and NBAChristmas Day presented by State Farm games.
There are more moves within, too. Salters is an excellent reporter, of course, who has done great work on Monday Night Football and has plenty of experience working big NBA games, including the Finals. Van Gundy’s extension, meanwhile, will likely keep the main commentary team together for some time.
ESPN’s NBA presentation has undergone major changes beyond the commentary team, though. Obviously Salters is replacing Maria Taylor, who departed for NBC this summer amid the Rachel Nichols controversy. Nichols is now off NBA programming, which led to Malika Andrews hosting the forthcoming NBA Today, ESPN’s daily replacement for The Jump. Having filled in this summer, Andrews was considered by some a candidate for the sideline reporting duties Salters will take over.
Mike Greenberg, meanwhile, will be hosting the revamped NBA Countdown, along with Michael Wilbon, Jalen Rose, and occasional appearances from Magic Johnson.