To say it’s been an eventful few days for ESPN would be a massive understatement.
The sports network behemoth recently announced huge layoffs, letting go a host of its most well-known reporters. But ESPN appears already be starting to fill the void. Adrian Wojnarowski, a prominent NBA insider for Yahoo! Sports’ The Vertical, has finalized a deal to work for ESPN, Peter Kafka of Recode reported Monday.
Wojnarowski will start at ESPN sometime before the June 22 NBA Draft and could bring some of his staff from The Vertical with him, per Kafka.
That’s a pretty big hire for ESPN, as Wojnarowski is the NBA’s foremost source for breaking news and has nearly 1.7 million Twitter followers who rely on him for inside scoops about trade rumors, free agent signings and more.
Yet Wojnarowski alone won’t replace the network’s gutted NBA coverage staff. Top basketball reporters Marc Stein and Chad Ford got the ax from ESPN last week, as did columnist Ethan Sherwood Strauss, New Orleans Pelicans beat writer Justin Verrier, Houston Rockets beat writer Calvin Watkins and NBA digital deputy director Henry Abbott (aka “TrueHoop”).
Despite the network’s struggles, Wojnarowski should be in line for a hefty payday from ESPN, as he reportedly is in the second year of a four-year contract with Yahoo! worth roughly $6 million. Deadspin first reported in February that “Woj” was considering joining the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports.
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