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Jefferson is Prized NBA Broadcasting Free Agent

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Networks are lining up for the chance to talk to Richard Jefferson. The 17-year NBA veteran has had discussions with multiple teams about making a move to broadcasting and there are at least three suitors for his services.

YES has had talks with Jefferson about joining the network’s Brooklyn Nets coverage. Jefferson played his first seven seasons in the NBA with the then New Jersey Nets. The role the two sides have discussed is something of a studio/game analyst hybrid. Jefferson, if he accepts, would work part-time in each environment. Regardless of whatever decision Jefferson makes, YES intends to keep Sarah Kustok with Ian Eagle on its lead play-by-play team.

The Los Angeles Clippers are having to completely overhaul their television broadcasts this season. Bruce Bowen and the team parted ways after a disagreement over the way Bowen criticized Kawhi Leonard. Long time play-by-play man Ralph Lawler announced his retirement earlier this week. Jefferson is a leading candidate to take over as the Clippers’ color commentator despite never having played for the team.

ESPN has also had discussions with Richard Jefferson about his broadcasting future. He has done some part time work for ESPN in the past, appearing on The Jump. The World Wide Leader envisions a studio role for Jefferson that one official described to The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand as “a similar spot to Tim Legler”. It would allow him to appear on multiple shows including The Jump, SportsCenter, and Get Up!.

For all of the interest in Jefferson becoming a broadcaster, Jefferson himself may not be on board. He told Marchand that he is planning to play an 18th season in the NBA.

“I’m a basketball player until I am not a basketball player,” Jefferson told The Post. “My goal is to play basketball this season.”

Richard Jefferson spent last season as a member of the Denver Nuggets.

As a broadcaster, Jefferson’s biggest moment may have come in podcasting. It was on the show he did with former Cleveland teammate Channing Frye where Kyrie Irving admitted he believed the Earth is flat.

Sports TV News

Kay Adams: Pat McAfee Has Built ‘The Dream’

“it’s interesting because he’s built himself to such a place that he does not need anyone and that is the dream.”

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Many in sports media have respect for former NFL punter Pat McAfee for what he has accomplished in his media endeavors, and you can add FanDuel TV host Kay Adams to that list.

“I’m just blown away by the success and by the leverage he has,” Adams said on the My Other Passion podcast. “It is uncanny, it is aspirational, and it is self-made, so it is a beautiful thing. I — of course — watch what he does. I don’t want to be just like him but I do think he is so disruptive.

“He has such a chip on his shoulder. It drives him but I almost wish I could see it relieved a little bit. He’s thriving, he’s happy, and I think the thing that sticks out to me about him is that he’s truly grateful. Truly is grateful for everything he has, his opportunities. He’s worked his ass off for it.”

Adams pointed to McAfee’s recent spat with the NFL over use of the league’s logos as an indicator of not only his success but his influence in the sports landscape.

“He is true to himself but he mostly leads with gratitude, which I think is the epitome of success. But he’s out there show you what can be done. He’s the first, but will he be the last to have that sort of platform? That sort of swing? What he does with the NFL the other week, I’m paying attention to that.

“Because I wanna see: is the NFL gonna bend the knee to Pat McAfee? Does the NFL care what he says? But it’s interesting because he’s built himself to such a place that he does not need anyone and that is the dream.”

The NFL did eventually “bend the knee” and reversed course on limiting McAfee’s use of league trademarks.

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Sports TV News

John Skipper: Bob Iger’s Return Won’t Effect ESPN

“If you’re going to win the streaming wars, you’re going to have to have sports.”

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There have been many questions about what Bob Iger’s return to Disney will mean for ESPN, but former ESPN President John Skipper believes it won’t change much.

Skipper pointed to Iger’s relationships with powerbrokers in the sports world as a positive, and also believes that the “streaming wars” will be won by those who hold the rights to live sports.

“As a moat, to get the pay-TV fees and to get people to pay more money to subscribe,” Skipper pointed to Sportico as the reason for ESPN to still have an agreement with the NBA for linear TV. He later added “If you’re going to win the streaming wars, you’re going to have to have sports.”

Skipper also said the network used to invest in constant studio programming but said that’s no longer a necessity.

“We did that type of programming because the economics were different at the time,” Skipper said.

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Warner Bros. Discovery Sports President Departs

“His enthusiasm and light-hearted demeanor are among his most endearing qualities, and they will be missed.”

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Lenny Daniels is leaving Warner Bros. Discovery after 27 years with the company.

Daniels is the President of the company’s sports division in the United States, overseeing the contracts and strategic vision for the organization.

In a memo sent to staff obtained by Sports Business Journal, CEO Luis Silberwasser said “While this change will take place right away, Lenny has agreed to work with me to ensure a smooth transition.” He also added “I have enjoyed working with Lenny during these past few months and I respect his decision. Lenny has never been one to place a spotlight on himself; he’s always been quick to shine it on those around him. His enthusiasm and light-hearted demeanor are among his most endearing qualities, and they will be missed.”

The departure by Daniels coincides with a round of layoffs by the company and also the beginning of long-term agreements with the NHL and MLB. The network is also about to embark on negotiations with the NBA for its next media rights deal, with Warner Bros. Discovery CEO and President David Zaslav recently saying “we don’t have to have the NBA“.

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