There's a certain free agent NBA coach and announcer who will be highly sought after by both ESPN and Turner should he decide to return to broadcasting. With Turner's NBA coverage coming to an end at the conclusion of the Eastern Conference Finals, former 76ers head coach Doug Collins will be joining ESPN for some very part-time duty as Bristol announced he will co-host an episode of Mike & Mike after Game 3 of the Finals next Wednesday.
This isn't just a former coach hopping on with a network and doing some moonlighting analyst work as we've often seen in the college and professional ranks. Collins isn't someone just dabbling in television - he's widely regarded as one of the best in sports when he steps behind the microphone. Could this be the beginning of ESPN reaching out to Collins?
Turner's depth is pretty well established. Marv Albert and Steve Kerr are the top pairing with Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller as the second team. Sure, Collins could go back and work with Harlan and Miller, but the true opportunity may exist at ESPN where Jeff Van Gundy's name is being mentioned for coaching vacancies like the Clippers. Even if JVG stays, Collins could form a 3 man team with Mike Breen, work with an up and coming NBA voice like Dave Pasch, or add some needed strength to ESPN's studio show.
When asked about potential long term interest in Collins, ESPN said through a network spokesperson to AA, "We are focused on our coverage of the Finals. After the season, as we always do, we will look at potential opportunities to make our team better. Doug is a tremendous talent."
Should Collins return to television on a full-time basis, a future partnership between ESPN and Collins certainly makes sense for both parties.