Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bill Simmons Out At NBA Countdown

Bill Simmons and Sage Steele never really seemed to hit it off which is why I'm not surprised he's been ousted from the ESPN NBA pregame show. I think his Grantland Basketball show is a great idea because it'll give him the opportunity to be more free-form with analysis and debate rather than get stuck to the time restraints of ESPN's NBA Countdown. Viewers will also get to choose whether they want to watch him or not and whether they want to accept him and all his Celtics fandem. One of the reasons he wasn't as liked on television as he is online is because viewers had no choice but to watch him and they knew he came with certain biases and prejudices.

ESPN has given Bill Simmons the world but will it be enough to keep him? We'll see how this new show plays out. If it doesn't, it'll be interesting to see where he goes. Turner and Fox could be destinations despite the fact that he loathes Bleacher Report and Fox Sports 1. Why would they be destinations? They're most likely going to be the only two other entities with NBA rights during the next contract rights period.

NBC is another option because they own the local Celtics TV rights in Boston and he could possibly analyze Celtics games for Comcast SportsNet Boston (He's already done it once; maybe the NBA could use the move as a way to sell more League Pass packages nationwide for Simmons superfans). Simmons could also contribute to Sunday Night Football and The Olympics. His columns on NBCSports.com or a new site NBC could launch for him would be syndicated onto Yahoo! Sports' site. The only problem would be reaching TV audiences, NBCSN doesn't have the power of ESPN.

Anyways, we'll see what happens on that front at sometime in the next year.

Who replaces Simmons on NBA Countdown? Stephen A. Smith is a possibility. According to Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead, Smith has been vying for the spot for a while. But will his recent scandal hinder him from taking over? Maybe Bruce Bowen is another option since he's worked often with Sage Steele during SportsCenter hits at various NBA events before Steele became SportsCenter host. I would personally lobby for Jeff Van Gundy but I doubt he wants to leave the road, he seems to love calling games. Maybe ESPN brings him via satellite to do a couple segments before any game he's about to call?

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