TNT’s NBA coverage could have a different look for its No. 1 broadcast team next season.
According to the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand, there have been rumblings that Chris Webber could be on his way out as Turner’s top game analyst after this season. Webber isn’t very popular with viewers, which is often indicated by “Chris Webber” being a trending topic on Twitter on the nights he’s calling a game.
Webber’s contract expires after this season, but Marchand reports that the former NBA star also ticked off Turner executives by opting out of calling NCAA Tournament broadcasts in the Indiana bubble very shortly before March Madness began. It’s not that Webber decided not to go to Indiana so much as when he informed Turner producers and executives that he wasn’t going to work the Tournament.
From the New York Post:
“In March, Webber did not help himself — if he wishes to continue to call games — by informing Turner officials very late that he would not do the NCAA Tournament that took place in a “bubble” format in Indianapolis.”
When NCAA Tournament broadcast crews were announced in early March, Webber and Reggie Miller were notably absent from the pairings. It was also curious that Turner and CBS waited until a week before the Tournament began to reveal their broadcast teams. According to Marchand, Webber stalling on a decision was the reason for the delayed announcement.
Meanwhile, Turner already knew that Miller wouldn’t call any Tournament games because he and his wife just had a baby. More importantly, network officials were kept aware of this development all along.
TNT’s No. 1 broadcast team was already facing possible changes with play-by-play announcer Marv Albert considering retirement. No final decision has been made there and Albert, 80, could return for his 23rd season with Turner (and 59th year calling professional basketball). But like Webber, Albert’s contract is up after this season. Turner has Ian Eagle, Kevin Harlan, and Brian Anderson ready as replacements for Albert when he decides to retire.
Marchand mentions Paul Pierce, recently fired by ESPN, and Richard Jefferson (whose contract is up) as available replacements for Webber. Turner could also stay in-house with Miller or Jim Jackson (who took Webber’s spot alongside Anderson during the NCAA Tournament).