After a frenetic NBA free agency period, Zach Lowe has a deal of his own coming up with ESPN relatively soon, The Big Lead has learned. Sources indicate that ESPN decision-makers feel very strongly about keeping Lowe, who writes, hosts a popular podcast, and appears up and down their television dial on shows like Get Up, The Jump, and player movement analysis specials with Adrian Wojnarowski.
Nevertheless, there is, at a point, a dollar amount where ESPN would with a heavy heart bid him adieu. An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment.
The most logical other suitor for Lowe is The Athletic. To call their recent hiring binge a spree would be an understatement. Lowe would be a massive coup for their NBA coverage, and their bourgeoning podcast ambitions. Lowe has such a devoted social following that he would drive a lot of subscriptions.
Plausible but less likely is Bleacher Report. They were heavily involved in the bidding for Lowe the last time his deal was up in 2016. There is new leadership at the site who would surely love to put their stamp on coverage of the NBA, their most significant sport, with a marquee hire. However, at the same time Turner Sports has been rapidly shedding costs at both the talent and executive levels since their parent Time Warner was acquired by AT&T, and this would be a very expensive stamp, expected to cost over $1 million a year.
Lowe, Bill Barnwell, David Jacoby, and Jalen Rose are the lone holdovers from the Grantland era at ESPN. It would qualify as a major surprise if he does ultimately end up leaving, but stranger things have happened.