There’s been a lot of discussion about changes to ESPN’s NBA coverage recently, but it looks like familiar face Zach Lowe will be sticking around. Bobby Burack of The Big Lead writes that Lowe has agreed to a multi-year extension with the network. That comes after TBL’s Ryan Glasspiegel reported earlier this month that The Athletic was “believed to have made a substantial offer” to Lowe. So, while this news hasn’t been confirmed by ESPN or Lowe yet (Burack writes that an ESPN spokesperson declined comment), it does sound like Lowe will be sticking with the network.
Lowe is an interesting piece for ESPN, as he’s done everything from appearances on ESPN’s NBA studio shows to TV specials to his Lowe Post podcast while also breaking some news and writing longform pieces for ESPN.com. He’s received a lot of praise from basketball fans and other writers, and Slate’s Josh Levin argued in 2016 that Lowe was “America’s Best Sports Writer.” And the network has shown an emphasis on keeping versatile talents lately, so it makes some sense that they found a way to keep Lowe around even with other suitors in the mix. However, ESPN has also been trying to keep their talent costs down, and they’ve parted ways with plenty of prominent people, so this suggests they put a fair bit of emphasis on retaining Lowe.
Lowe started his reporting career in 2004 covering crime, government and courts for the Stamford (CT) Advocate, then began writing about basketball part-time for Celtics Hub and wrote for legal magazine The American Lawyer. He joined Sports Illustrated in 2010, then went to Grantland in 2012 and stuck with ESPN after they closed down Grantland in 2015. In 2016, he reportedly received an offer from Bleacher Report, but chose to sign an extension with ESPN instead. It now looks like he’s again chosen to stay at ESPN despite outside interest. We’ll see if Lowe’s responsibilities change under this new deal.