Kenny Smith has been working as an NBA studio analyst for more than two decades now, but many believe it is only a matter of time before he leaves for a coaching or front office job. Smith would agree.
In an interview with Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports this week, Smith said it is “inevitable” that he will one day be running a basketball operations department. He feels the relationships he has built and information he has received over the past 20 years could make him extremely valuable to an NBA franchise.
“It’s inevitable from a basketball standpoint I will be moving on. The consumption and production of information that I’ve received, the way I’m able to relay it, and the relationships, it’s inevitable,” Smith said. “It’s just inevitable … You’re around things. You’re privy to information for 20 years from runners to agents to general managers and owners that no one else has been privy to. No one else. Every team in the league has told me something they’ve told no one else.”
Smith, who is a staple with TNT’s incredibly popular “Inside the NBA” show, did not give a timeline of when he might leave the studio for a front office job. However, he hinted that it could be as soon as next season.
“But after this 22-game thing, then the dust will clear. Because everyone’s not really sure where they are,” Smith said. “They’re thinking, ‘Are we still where we were when we left off? Are we better? Do we have another chance since this is the start of a new season?’ Once that diminishes and goes away, my phone always rings. One day I’m going to answer and they’re going to answer back at the same time … Both parties will say yes.”
Smith has been linked to some high-profile head coaching jobs in the past, but it sounds like a job as a general manager interests him more. The 55-year-old spent 10 seasons in the NBA as a player and won two championships with the Houston Rockets. He has been working for TNT ever since he retired after the 1997 season.
There is obviously a ton of respect for Smith around the NBA, so no one would be surprised if he was hired as an executive or a coach.
Marv Albert is a familiar voice for NBA fans when he calls national TV games, but he won’t be broadcasting during the NBA’s restarted season in Orlando.
The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reported on Tuesday that Albert will not be a part of the NBA’s bubble due to concerns related to the coronavirus. Albert is 79, which puts him in an age group that is considered to be at a higher risk for adverse consequences if they get the virus.
Albert told Marchand he was excited about participating until he saw the cases in Florida rise, which gave him second thoughts.
Marchand says that 86-year-old Hubie Brown, who is part of ESPN’s game broadcasts, will also likely not be a part of the bubble.
Kevin Harlan, Ian Eagle and Brian Anderson are Turner’s other NBA play-by-play voices. Harlan is regarded as the No. 2 announcer behind Albert. National announcers are expected to be on-site to broadcast the games during the restarted season, which begins in July.
NBA players will have to make a number of sacrifices when they resume the season in Orlando, one of which is that they will not be permitted to have contact with their wives or significant others for roughly a month after the games tip off. Stephen A. Smith believes that is going to be a major problem.
Smith had an animated rant on ESPN’s “First Take” Tuesday in which he expressed doubt that players will adhere to all the rules in Orlando. Why? Smith is convinced they cannot go that long without sex.
“Do we really think the recreational activities, what these guys are accustomed to, are going to be compromised for three months?” Smith said. “You really think people are going to be without their wives or without their woman? You really think they’re honoring a bubble for three months?”
Smith said he believes that is one of the main reasons NBA players would have preferred to resume the season in Las Vegas, as they would have been staying at casino resorts and the security may not have been as tight.
It’s unclear how exactly the NBA plans to police the “rules” of the bubble, but we know professional athletes are accustomed to having their freedom. Living in a campus environment at Walt Disney World will be challenging, but NBA commissioner Adam Silver remains very confident in the league’s plan.
Former WFAN host Craig Carton is out of prison and could even have a path toward getting his old job back.
According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Carton was released from prison Tuesday morning due to completing a series of programs in federal prison. He served just over 12 of his 42-month sentence and will finish that sentence in either home confinement or a halfway house.
According to Marchand, Carton’s sports radio career may not be over. His former producer, Chris Oliviero, now manages Entercom’s New York stations, which includes WFAN. Marchand reports that Oliviero asked if he could hire Carton upon taking over that job and was told it would be allowed if he wanted to. There is no deal done, however, and no indication it will happen any time soon.
Carton spent 10 years at WFAN paired with Boomer Esiason to host “Boomer & Carton,” which consistently led the morning ratings.
Paul Finebaum has been central to ESPN’s coverage of college football and the SEC for years, but he added to speculation that his time at the network may be ending.
Finebaum said Monday during an interview with radio station WJOX that he isn’t sure about his future with ESPN, adding that the network does not like speculation without a formal statement.
“I’m not really sure,” Finebaum said when asked about his ESPN future, via Brad Crawford of 247 Sports. “Obviously, everything depends on what happens. But I’ll probably be the last to know. Here’s the problem and you guys know me pretty well. The company doesn’t like us talking about things until they issue their formal statements.”
It would be fair to say signals are a bit mixed right now. People have been paying attention to Finebaum’s future when it was reported that he may go independent when his contract expires next summer. His departure from SEC Network’s “SEC Nation” only fueled the speculation, and these comments won’t silence any doubters either.
Subscribers of the DISH Network and Sling TV may have trouble getting their NFL news for the time being.
As Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk noted, the NFL Network and NFL RedZone channels were suddenly dropped from DISH Network and Sling TV on Thursday night. The NFL released a statement claiming DISH has not been willing to accept standard terms that other providers have accepted, and the sides are still negotiatiing.
“As of 9 pm ET NFL Network and NFL RedZone are no longer available to DISH and Sling TV subscribers,” the NFL’s press release said. “While NFL Media remains committed to negotiating an agreement and has offered terms consistent with those in place with other distributors, DISH has not agreed.”
NFL RedZone has become extremely popular among fans, especially those with fantasy football teams. NFL Network also airs preseason and regular season games in addition to 24-hour news about the league, so DISH and Sling TV subscribers will not have access to any of that until an agreement is reached.
Preseason games are scheduled to begin in less than two months, so the NFL and DISH will likely try to pressure one another to fold prior to that. This is not the first time we have seen a provider in a stand-off with the NFL, and the situations typically get resolved one way or the other.
Tim Tebow will have a new colleague on “SEC Nation” for the 2020 season.
According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Jordan Rodgers will be added to the SEC Network program as an analyst. Marcus Spears and Paul Finebaum, who were previously analysts on the program, have chosen to depart. Spears will begin appearing more on “NFL Live,” while Finebaum focuses on his radio program and other ESPN appearances.
Laura Rutledge will remain in her post as the program’s host.
Rodgers, brother of Aaron and former star of The Bachelor, has some experience in the broadcasting business. He already serves as an analyst for SEC Network, but this marks a pretty big promotion. He will work in a similar role as Kirk Herbstreit on ESPN, doing the preview show in the morning before calling a game at night.
“SEC Nation” is patterned after ESPN’s famous “College Gameday” and travels to the site of a different SEC football game every week. Tebow has been part of the show since its inception and is one of its big draws.