S NBA Countdown may have found its new host. We've learned that SportsCenter anchor Sage Steele has been offered the job, according to four sources familiar with the process. It is not clear if she'll accept.
If Steele takes the job it'll give the show a proper host, a role that no person claimed last year. We've also been told that Steele's contract with ESPN is set to expire next year. What the job would mean for her future at ESPN—whether she'd re-up or do the show while running out her contract—isn't clear, either.
NBA Countdown has gone through a makeover in recent weeks. Michael Wilbon won't be a regular anymore, and Magic Johnson recently told ESPN that he wouldn't be returning. Last week, we reported that Magic left the show because he was pissed that Wilbon had been "booted" and that he had reservations about what he—and others—thought to be Bill Simmons's ascendance to total power over the show. Simmons said in an interview with SI that our sources are "liars" and that the story was "planted" in an effort to make him "look bad." It was not planted; two sources, neither of whom has any interest in making Simmons look bad, told us the same thing independent of each other. Since the story was published yet another well-placed source has confirmed that Magic's departure was mostly related to Wilbon's defenestration and Simmons's perceived control of the show.
Simmons also told SI that he doesn't have sway over studio appointments.
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