When ESPN went through its massive layoffs of on-air and writing talent, there were certain names that were especially surprising to see let go, considering the company’s main focuses moving forward. ESPN’s two main broadcast rights deals are with the NBA and NFL, so while it wasn’t as surprising to see cutbacks in hockey, baseball, or general studio coverage, there were some major stunners in the NBA and NFL reporting world.
Chief among those was ESPN letting top NBA reporter Marc Stein go, considering he was their best newsbreaker and just a generally great all-around talent both in writing and on-air reporting. However, as we quickly learned, Stein’s ouster was less about cutbacks and more about making room for Adrian Wojnarowski and company to come on board from The Vertical.
Stein reported for ESPN right up until 11:59 p.m. ET on June 30, with Wojnarowski taking over at midnight when free agency began. For the past few months, we haven’t heard from Stein, but on Tuesday he announced his next stop and that he will be back for the 2017-18 NBA season, joining the New York Times as a national NBA reporter.
It’s a big get for the Times, which had never quite replaced Howard Beck from a newsbreaking capacity after he left a few years ago for Bleacher Report. Now with Stein, they will be back in the NBA national news game, challenging ESPN, The Vertical, and USA Today.
For NBA fans, it’s good news to have Stein back in the league for this season. He’s one of the league’s best and most plugged in reporters, so this means more juicy scoops and rumors, which we all love.