Maria Taylor could have a new gig elsewhere before the end of the NBA Finals.
According to multiple reports, NBC is attempting to sign Taylor, the host of ESPN’s “NBA Countdown,” in time for the start of the Olympics on July 23.
Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports the deal is on “the half-yard line.”
Taylor’s contract with ESPN expires on July 20 while a potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals would take place on July 22.
Should Taylor and ESPN fail to reach an agreement and she does join NBC instead, ESPN would have to find a new host to close out its NBA Finals coverage than the one who started it.
The Bucks and Suns are currently tied at 2-2, so the series will at least go six games.
Should Taylor, 34, join NBC, she could potentially succeed Mike Tirico as the host of “Football Night in America” during the NFL season in addition to working the Olympics. Tirico is expected to move from the studio to the booth in 2022 to replace Al Michaels.
Taylor, who also has experience working on ESPN’s “College GameDay,” could also work on NBC’s Notre Dame football broadcasts.
According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, ESPN had offered Taylor a contract that would have paid close to $5 million in its final year, but the anchor is believed to be seeking “Stephen A. Smith” money, which is about $12 million per year in total compensation.
In addition to her contract negotiations, Taylor has been at the forefront of drama within ESPN involving fellow host and reporter Rachel Nichols, who said in a private conversation last year that she was being passed as a host in favor of Taylor due to the “pressure” the network was facing on diversity.
The audio was leaked earlier this month in a New York Times story, which detailed the dismay Taylor and other ESPN employees had toward the network for failing to discipline Nichols for what she said.
Following the New York Times story, Nichols was removed from the NBA Finals as a sideline reporter and replaced with Malika Andrews.