Five months after being laid off as part of ESPN’s infamous April purge, Marc Stein is close to joining the New York Times, a source close to Stein told Awful Announcing.
Stein is one of the preeminent NBA news-breakers in the country, as well as an experienced television personality. Before working at ESPN, he covered the Mavericks for The Dallas Morning News, among other newspaper jobs. At the Times, he will presumably serve as a national NBA reporter, alongside Scott Cacciola and others.
Not long after ESPN laid off Stein, the network announced the hiring of Adrian Wojnarowski, a move many sports media pundits interpreted as being connected given their overlap as NBA news-breakers.
Stein did not respond to Awful Announcing’s request for comment. The New York Times declined comment on the record, except to say that Stein does not currently work for the paper.
Those laid off by ESPN but still under a contract with the network have had to navigate a difficult process before they can take new jobs. ESPN has looked to save money by refusing to fully offset salary differences, meaning employees whom ESPN has laid off wind up sacrificing money to work elsewhere. Additionally, laid-off employees who have found new opportunities have also been asked to sign more assertive non-disclosure and non-disparage agreements limiting what they can say about their former employer. Many laid-off employees have found the required concessions unfair and have opted to just let their agreements with the network run out instead of agreeing to take less money and limit their ability to speak about ESPN going forward.
It’s unclear how close Stein and the Times are to finalizing their deal, but with training camp underway and the Times not a primary competitor to ESPN, it would seem likely Stein’s agreement is only a matter of time. We will update this post as more information becomes available.