Maria Taylor became one of the most talked-about broadcasters in sports in recent weeks, as her contract negotiations with ESPN have become engulfed in controversy, speculation, and dogged reporting. But despite concerns that Taylor would leave ESPN in the lurch as her contract expired, apparently that is no longer the case.
On the heels of an explosive report about Rachel Nichols and her grievances with Taylor taking the NBA Finals pregame hosting duties for ESPN last year, Taylor’s negotiations with the network about a new deal were given new light. Subsequent reporting indicated the host and sideline reporter would leave ESPN for NBC sometime during the month to jump on that network’s Olympic coverage.
But according to The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch, Taylor will stay with ESPN until at least the conclusion of the NBA Finals.
Per sources: If the NBA Finals extends to six or seven games, Maria Taylor will continue to host NBA Countdown/pre/half/etc..despite her contract being up this month. The parties have worked out an agreement for this contingency.
ESPN declined comment when contacted.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) July 16, 2021
Deitsch amended his reporting to include the obvious — the Finals will go at least six games, as the series is tied at 2-2 as of Friday afternoon. But the result remains the same: Despite reports that Taylor could jump to NBC before the Finals concludes, the sides worked out an agreement to keep the broadcast consistent until the Larry O’Brien Trophy is awarded later this month.
There’s been nothing officially announced about Taylor’s future from anyone involved, but the path seems clear that once the Finals wraps up, Taylor will move on and her soon-to-be former employer will replace her with someone else in that role.