ESPN’s NBA Countdown is apparently about to undergo major changes again, and much of the focus has understandably been on the change at host, with Michelle Beadle reportedly out and Maria Taylor and Rachel Nichols reportedly in. However, it looks like there will be some changes on the analyst front as well. In his initial piece on this news Friday, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post mentioned that Chauncey Billups will be exiting the show to work as a game analyst, both for ESPN nationally and for the Los Angeles Clippers locally:
Sources told The Post that Billups is leaving “Countdown” to be a TV game analyst for the Los Angeles Clippers. Billups will continue at ESPN, too, but he will shift to games. [Paul] Pierce’s role on Countdown is still unsettled.
Later on Friday, Andrew Grief of The Los Angeles Times then confirmed the news that Billups will be calling Clippers’ games on Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket, and mentioned that he seems likely to be part of a rotation of analysts there:
Billups, who retired in 2014 after a 17-year playing career — one that includes an NBA championship run with Detroit in 2004 and two seasons spent with the Clippers, from 2011 to 20 13 — confirmed via text Friday that he will work as an analyst along play-by-play broadcaster Brian Sieman on the team’s Prime Ticket/Fox Sports West broadcasts.
Billups did not indicate how many games he will call. The New York Post reported Friday that he would will also continue to call games for ESPN, whose NBA coverage he has contributed to since 2014. According to people with knowledge of plans for next season’s broadcasts, there is a strong possibility that the analyst role on Clippers broadcasts will rotate among a handful of people, including Billups. That would be similar to how the role was filled last season.
That’s part of a larger stable of changes for the Clippers, as they’re also going to be in their first season with Sieman as their TV voice (he’s been their primary play-by-play commentator on radio since 2007, but will now be stepping in on TV, taking over for the retiring Ralph Lawler). It’s unclear who else will be a local TV analyst for them this season, and it’s notable that the team used seven different analysts last year (plus single-game guests like Billy Crystal and Bill Walton).
This comes at a time when there’s some increased national interest in the Clippers. After their offseason signings of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the team saw their TNT games jump from four last year to 12 this season, and their overall national games jump to 38 (third in the NBA). So it’s interesting to see some changes on their local broadcast as well, and to see Billups (who’d been at NBA Countdown since 2015) leaving that role for game analyst work, both nationally and with the Clippers. We’ll see how many Clippers’ games Billups ends up calling and how he does as a game analyst, both locally and nationally.