WASHINGTON — NBA free agency starts July 1, yet here we are, on June 26, with our first big scoop of the free agency period.
Per SI’s Richard Deitsch, NBA scoop-master Adrian Wojnarowski will be leaving The Vertical for ESPN on, you got it, July 1.
Woj, as he’s commonly known, typically gets the vast majority of NBA breaking news, and it’s easy to imagine a scenario in which he heads over to ESPN and brings with him the biggest scoop of the offseason.
Perhaps he’ll take the free agency period off somewhat in order to adjust to his new role, but that doesn’t seem likely. After all, July 1 is the biggest day of the NBA season for him, followed by the trade deadline and the draft.
News had leaked out several months ago that Woj was destined to leave The Vertical for ESPN, but it was unclear when that would happen. Now, it appears the premiere NBA reporter is more closely aligning himself with the players he covers and choosing a new organization at the start of the new season.
All this seems unlikely to change anything as far as how NBA fans get their news, though it seems to signal a change in media winds. ESPN received plenty of criticism earlier this year when massive layoffs forced out dozens of top reporters while “personalities” such as Stephen A. Smith remained under contract.
However, with Woj reportedly on board, and Adam Schefter — essentially the NFL equivalent of Woj — being part of ESPN’s crew, the sports media powerhouse now has the two biggest news-breakers in major American sports.
In addition, Wojnarowski is expected to bring several members of his staff from The Vertical to ESPN with him, which would make it very difficult for the Yahoo platform to continue operating at a high level.
What’s more, this move appears to signify ESPN trending toward the NBA, especially when paired with the massive television contract the network has with the Association.
Interesting times, for sure.