For the past year, ever since Adrian Wojnarowski left Yahoo for ESPN, one of the most fascinating things to watch around the NBA Draft, free agency, and trade deadline has been the race to get breaking news first between Woj and his protege-turned-rival, Shams Charania.
By all accounts, there isn’t any actual animosity between the two, but more of a manufactured rivalry by fans who have found it fun to keep score, of sorts, of who is getting the most meaningful scoops first. Charania’s contract with Yahoo is up this summer, and while he’s a valuable piece of their NBA team, there was a discrepancy between the two sides regarding his compensation in the latest contract negotiations.
That led to Yahoo walking away from negotiations, as GM Geoff Reiss told Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, which makes Charania the most coveted NBA media free agent of the summer.
“We made the decision to walk away from negotiations,” Yahoo Sports GM Geoff Reiss said as part of a statement to The Post, which praised Charania’s impact over his three years at the website.
Charania is still breaking news for Yahoo for now but will be at a new site come the start of the 2018-19 season. The question is where the fast-rising media star will land, as there has been speculation ever since Woj left for ESPN that he would eventually bring Shams into the fold with him as well.
However, as Marchand notes, the ESPN stable of newsbreakers is pretty full, and with Charania understandably looking to cash in on his next contract, they might not be looking to pay that much for his services. If that is the case, Marchand highlights NBC Sports’ regional networks and The Athletic as the two likely landing spots for Charania.
The Athletic makes a ton of sense given they are planning on launching a national basketball site soon and would likely like to add a top flight newsbreaker as they did with Ken Rosenthal on the baseball side. Not only is there a snug fit, but The Athletic has not been shy about throwing significant money at writers and reporters in an effort to lure them away from good gigs already, so Charania’s free agency status would seem to make him a prime target for the budding media giant.