Who Will Fill ESPN's NBA Roster?


The National Basketball Association figures to be well into its playoff
season before ESPN announces the on-air talent it will use next year under its
six-year, $2.4 billion rights deal.

Senior vice president and general manager of programming and acquisitions
Mark Shapiro saidthere won't be an official call on who'll do
play-by-play, analysis or studio duties 'until May or June. We're still
evaluating talent and who's out there.'

Internal candidates are also under consideration, he added.

Asked if hoops lover Stuart Scott of SportsCenter might be in the mix,
Shapiro laughed and said, 'We'll find a spot for Stuart.'

Whether ESPN and The Walt Disney Co. sister ABC will sign Bob Costas is
another matter.

Shapiro said ESPN/ABC is interested in Costas. However, if NBC -- where he's
been for years in a variety of capacities, including most recently as host of
the Winter Olympic Games -- puts together the right package, it remains 'the
front-runner' to retain the versatile sportscaster, he added.