Report: Doc Rivers set to replace Mark Jackson on ESPN’s new NBA Finals broadcast team

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read
Brian Westerholt-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Jackson could be on his way out of broadcasting the NBA Finals, with ESPN reportedly ready to further shake up its top team by adding two new analysts to join Mike Breen.

“ESPN is closing in on promoting Doris Burke to the NBA Finals, hiring Doc Rivers to join her and jettisoning Mark Jackson to the ‘B’ team or off the network, The Post has learned,” wrote Andrew Marchand of the New York Post.


“In the wake of Jeff Van Gundy’s firing in late June, ESPN set their eyes on making Burke the first woman TV analyst on the NBA Finals and hiring Rivers to join Hall of Fame play-by-player, Mike Breen.


“The deals are not finalized but are quickly moving in that direction.


“This has left Jackson in peril.


“Sources said Jackson could stay on and join play-by-player Mark Jones on the network’s second team. If he balks at that option, he could be headed out of ESPN.


“ESPN declined to comment.


“Van Gundy was a victim of ESPN’s talent layoffs. While Van Gundy was one of the best game analysts in sports, top ESPN executives were wary of his desire to coach again.”

The network earlier this offseason parted with Van Gundy, who last season called his 17th NBA Finals for ABC/ESPN. At the time, it was reported that the former NBA head coach was a victim of cost-cutting decisions by the network, but apparently executives were worried that the 61-year-old may have a desire to return to coaching. The former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets coach had been with ESPN since 2007.

Jackson, Van Gundy and Breen were a popular longtime team that worked 15 NBA Finals together, with Breen calling his 100th NBA Finals game during the 2023 playoffs. Jackson and Van Gundy at times were criticized for their styles of analysis, but they had become familiar voices of the sport. ABC/ESPN has been the network for the past 21 NBA Finals, including the Denver Nuggets’ five-game victory over the Miami Heat last season.

Jackson returned to ESPN in 2014 after three seasons as head coach of the Golden State Warriors. He played 17 NBA seasons and ranks sixth in total assists in league history.

Burke was the first woman to become a full-time national NBA game analyst when ESPN promoted her to that role prior to the 2017-18 season. She called the 2020 NBA Finals on ESPN Radio and was honored by the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.

Rivers was fired as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers following last season and is set to return to the broadcast table. The 61-year-old former NBA player and longtime coach actually called the 2004 NBA Finals with Al Michaels for ABC and coached the Boston Celtics to the 2008 NBA championship.

Former NBA players and current ESPN studio personalities Richard Jefferson and J.J. Redick also reportedly were being considered for roles on the No. 1 team.

There have been may significant NBA transactions this summer, and these reported ESPN maneuvers are just another part of an ever-changing offseason environment around the league.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.