ESPN is hiring The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who will start in time for the NBA Draft, reports Recode. Some of Wojnarowski’s colleague’s at The Vertical will also be coming along.
This news is not surprising after Deadspin’s February report that the two sides were close to a deal. ESPN’s layoffs last week included its top basketball news-breaker Marc Stein, so one could have also deduced that Wojnarowski would be joining the worldwide leader by reading into the tea leaves from that.
Wojnarowski is the highest-profile basketball insider on the planet. He breaks nearly every pick of the draft before it happens, having undermined ESPN’s coverage of the event for years — a large part of the reason why it is so critical they have him before June 22 — along with a large portion of free agency and trade news.
A lingering question here is Wojnarowski’s podcast network which encompasses his own show, along with those of Chris Mannix and Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick (though Redick has not posted a new show for several months).
After ESPN laid off multiple members of its TrueHoop podcast, putting the show on hold possibly forever, there is space for Wojnarowski’s podcast network to fill. Redick has experience with ESPN, having worked with NBA Countdown last season after the Clippers were eliminated, so, if Wojnarowski is bringing coworkers with him, it seems like a natural fit.