As part of the new NBA rights package, ESPN is upping its broadcasts from about 90 games last year to 100 this upcoming season, and they are in the process of firming up their announcing teams. Two things we have learned from a source with knowledge of the discussions are that Doug Collins’ primary responsibility will switch from studio analysis to color commentary (he did some of the latter last year, but this year will have about 25-30 games), and that Hubie Brown has signed a new multi-year deal with the network. The source requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
ESPN’s first NBA team — Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson — is expected to remain unchanged this season. While again it is not set in stone, it sounds like Hubie Brown, who worked primarily in recent years with Mike Tirico (now departed for NBC), will be mainly paired with Mark Jones. Collins would then likely be paired with a combination of Dave Pasch and Ryan Ruocco, along with occasionally working with Breen at times where Van Gundy and Jackson have the night off. Doris Burke is also expected to pick up some more games on color, and Jon Barry will remain on the roster.
As far as filling the void left by Collins on NBA Countdown, our understanding is that talks are still in the preliminary stages. One name to look out for from inside the network is Chauncey Billups, who joined ESPN in 2014.