J.J. Redick has zoomed to the top of the contenders’ list to join ESPN’s top NBA game broadcast team, sources tell Front Office Sports.
Redick, fellow ESPN analyst Doris Burke and Richard Jefferson, and four-time NBA head coach Doc Rivers are all in play to possibly succeed the laid-off Jeff Van Gundy, said sources.
They would join the returning No. 1 game team of analyst Mark Jackson and play-by-play announcer Mike Breen.
The question for ESPN is whether it wants to continue a three-person broadcast booth for its top NBA games. That’s unusual in today’s sports media climate.
Or install a two-person booth along the lines of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” duo of Troy Aikman and Joe Buck?
If Redick gets the top analyst, it will mark a meteoric rise at ESPN for the 39-year-old sharphshooter.
The all-time leading scorer at Duke University only joined ESPN during the 2021-2022 season after a 15-year career in the NBA.
But the smart, savvy Redick has shown his willingness to give big opinions while throwing elbows on-air with ESPN stars Stephen A. Smith and Kendrick Perkins. He’s worked game and studio NBA analysis for ESPN, while co-starring on shows such as Smith’s “First Take.”
Then again, the talented Burke has earned her shot at the No 1 NBA announce team. She’s called the NBA Finals on the radio for ESPN since 2020.
With ESPN poised to enter bruising billion-dollar negotiations to retain its NBA media rights, Burke would help the network make history by becoming the first woman to call the NBA Finals on a television broadcast.
Rivers and Al Michaels called the 2004 NBA Finals for Walt Disney’s Co.’s ABC. But the longtime NBA coach returned to the bench the following year, eventually leading the Boston Celtics to the 2008 NBA Championship. He was fired by the Philadelphia 76ers in May following their Eastern Conference Semifinals playoff loss to the Celtics.
This week, Rivers said he was still determining his coaching future. “I don’t know what I’m gonna do,” he told TMZ. “I’m just gonna enjoy life.”