Stephen A Smith
Stephen A Smith will be added to ESPN NBA broadcasts. Most likely, Countdown. ESPN is making sweeping changes to catch TNT. (Melissa Rawlins/ESPN Images)

In case you missed it, ESPN is having sweeping changes with it’s NBA Countdown set up. Michelle Beadle? Get the f*ck out of here. She will be replaced by a tag-team effort of Rachel Nichols and the elegant Maria Taylor. Maria deserves this gig, she does a great job with college football. Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billups are also out. Stephen A Smith is jumping in place of one of them to join the show.

Via The Big Lead:

“Stephen A. Smith is in ESPN’s plans for NBA studio coverage this upcoming season, The Big Lead has learned from multiple people with knowledge of the situation. An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment on the news.

Our sources indicate that Wednesday night is the most likely time for him to be involved, but cautioned that plans are not yet set in stone”

Richard Deitsch also added more nuggets. Billups has been removed from pre-game and will do color commentary instead. Jalen Rose is back as previously reported. Paul Pierce? Well, he’s probably a goner.

Nothing is specific about what Stephen A is doing but I’m going to guess he’s going to be ESPN’s counter to Charles Barkley on the TNT broadcast. TNT has been kicking ESPN’s ass for years. One reason is because Barkley gets people worked up and adds a sense of humor. ESPN will have to beg Stephen A to carry them once again.

Still, it looks like one seat is left wide open. Who replaces Paul Pierce? ESPN knows they can’t bring him back. Pierce brought nothing to the table. He’s not smart, funny witty, or clever in any way. I love Paul Pierce that baskeball player. I couldn’t hate the broadcaster version more. ESPN knows they have to do something. That something remains to be seen.