Shams Charania on The Pat McAfee Show Credit: The Pat McAfee Show on ESPN

Just as important as the prolonged head coaching search of the Los Angeles Lakers this week is the battle over the reporting on that search among NBA insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania. The insider beef reached a boiling point this week as “Woj” reported on the Lakers’ pursuit of reigning back to back NCAA champion Dan Hurley while Charania maintained ESPN analyst JJ Redick was the frontrunner for the job. Hurley rejected the Lakers this week and on Thursday, Woj published an article listing Redick as a top candidate for the job after all, while Charania took to ESPN airwaves on The Pat McAfee Show to take a victory lap.

Charania spelled out his reporting timeline during an interview with McAfee, noting Redick interviewed with Lakers brass in Chicago during the NBA Combine. In Wojnarowski’s article Thursday, he called an upcoming meeting between Redick and the Lakers the first “formal interview” for the retired NBA sharpshooter.

“This is the second time JJ Redick is meeting with Rob Pelinka and the Lakers,” Charania told McAfee. “Obviously JJ Redick has had a lot of interest from the Lakers throughout this process … I actually said on your program on May 24 that JJ Redick is the favorite and that it is down to JJ Redick and James Borrego as the two finalists for the Lakers. And that hasn’t changed.”

After Charania finished, McAfee explained the thought process behind bringing The Athletic’s NBA insider on the show to explain info reported by ESPN’s NBA insider.

“Shams is our NBA guy. Completely OK with other NBA guys being our guy, but Shams has literally been our guy for half a decade,” McAfee said.

McAfee added that he knew that interviewing Charania earlier in the week after Hurley rejected the Lakers would bring scrutiny to PMS and the insider beef.

The additional segment on Thursday just added fuel to the fire.

In Wojnarowski’s initial reporting around Hurley’s candidacy in Los Angeles, he claimed Hurley was the Lakers’ primary target all along. The first ESPN article by Wojnarowski on Hurley and the Lakers referenced Redick only as a podcast partner alongside Lakers star LeBron James, not a candidate for the head coaching job.

However, after Charania named Redick the frontrunner, Redick appeared on Golic & GoJo on DraftKings Network with sharp words for Charania. Still, Redick did not deny Charania’s reporting.

For years, the two NBA insiders have fought a cold war in their public comments and published work. The Lakers search is just a microcosm of the odd dynamic between the two information mavens.

What’s new is McAfee, whose show is licensed by ESPN and whose salary is paid by ESPN, inserting himself into that dynamic. By promoting Charania in his work, McAfee is standing by his “guy” over ESPN’s guy in Wojnarowski.

As producer Tone Diggs notes in the clip above, McAfee pledged PMS would not change on ESPN airwaves. However, on the NFL side, ESPN insider Adam Schefter has risen to top billing on PMS since the show’s move, pushing NFL Network insider and PMS favorite Ian Rapoport mostly to the streaming-exclusive portion of the show that is not broadcast on ESPN.

Charania, like Rapoport, was a regular on PMS before it was licensed by ESPN. Wojnarowski has rarely appeared on PMS.

It may seem semantic and silly, and perhaps it is, but it is just another example of McAfee loudly sticking it to ESPN executives and ESPN colleagues and going his own way.

[The Pat McAfee Show on ESPN]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.