Rachel Nichols And Maria Taylor Will Reportedly Become The Hosts Of ESPN’s ‘NBA Countdown’

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Ahead of the 2019-20 season, changes are underway at ESPN. According to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, ESPN is planning to name Maria Taylor and Rachel Nichols as the new hosts of NBA Countdown, the network’s pregame show. Michelle Beadle previously hosted the show.

Taylor and Nichols will reportedly split time as hosts of the show. Taylor was hired by ESPN in 2014 and has worked in a number of on-air roles, most notably as a college football studio analyst. Meanwhile, Nichols has co-hosted ESPN’s weekday NBA show The Jump since it first aired in 2016, and Deitsch reports she’ll stick with the show.

While details about who will be joining Nichols and Taylor on NBA Countdown are still being ironed out, the one co-host that won’t be back is Chauncey Billlups. While Deitsch mentioned Billups will become an in-game analyst, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Billups will call Los Angeles Clippers games going forward. This does not, however, necessarily mean the end of his ESPN tenure.

Billups spent two seasons with the Clippers from 2011-2013. We also know what the future holds for Jalen Rose, who will return to the NBA Countdown desk for another season.

The one unknown in all of this is Paul Pierce. The future Hall of Fame inductee joined ESPN as a studio analyst in 2017 and has since fallen out of favor with basketball fans for saying controversial things, like when he proclaimed he had a better career than three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade or, more recently, when he predicted that the Boston Celtics-Milwaukee Bucks playoff series was over after one game.

Regardless of what decision ESPN comes to with Pierce, the NBA Countdown desk will look very different next season, for better or for worse. When contacted by Dime, an ESPN representative declined to comment.