Paul Pierce could be removed from ESPN’s NBA Countdown program next season along with fellow analyst Chauncey Billups and host Michelle Beadle, according to a report from SportsByBrooks.
The WorldWide Leader issued a statement this week addressing the story, in which it said it will evaluate changes after the NBA season concludes. The Raptors defeated the Warriors to capture the championship Thursday, meaning meetings could already be underway in Bristol.
“Our whole NBA team is doing a great job and remains focused on an incredible NBA Finals and tomorrow night’s Game 6,” the statement reads. “We have made no decisions about what we are doing next season. After the season, and as we do with every sport, we will sit down and plan our entire NBA content offering across platforms.”
Citing multiple sources, the sports gossip website says Jalen Rose is the only full-time member of the show expected to remain on the program. Maria Taylor or Rachel Nichols could take over Beadle’s role, SportsByBrooks says. Nichols is the host of the weekday NBA studio show, “The Jump,” and regularly conducts candid and revealing interviews with NBA stars.
For the most part, Pierce has been solid at the analyst desk, most notably predicting earlier this postseason the Celtics would defeat the Bucks following their dominant Game 1 victory. He was wrong, of course, but at least he offered a strong opinion –– something not all ex-jocks do with any regularity.
If there is a shakeup, it will seemingly be another attempt for ESPN to try and gain ground on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” which remains the league’s premier studio show. “NBA Countdown” has undergone a variety of casting changes since its inception in 2008.