Why Maria Taylor might not be with ESPN through the entire NBA Finals

Maria Taylor might not last with ESPN through the end of the 2021 NBA Finals.

The network host’s contract has been a topic of much discussion, with the on-air favorite reportedly requesting Stephen A. Smith money — in the neighborhood of $8 million — to remain with ESPN.

Reportedly, ESPN has a $3 million contract offer on the table for Taylor, but that won’t be enough to satiate her contract requests.

According to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, Taylor’s current contract expires July 20, which is the date of a potential Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals. Marchand says that it’s unclear what ESPN and Taylor would do should the two sides not reach a new deal, leaving the possibility that Taylor may not finish her hosting duties for the network if the series stretches to six or seven games.

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Taylor, 34, wears many hats for ESPN, including as a sideline reporter for the college football national championship game and now the NBA Finals after disparaging comments were made by fellow ESPN host Rachel Nichols.

Nichols lost her sideline reporter duties for the NBA Finals after the surfacing of the comments, with Malika Andrews taking her place on the ABC broadcasts.

ESPN originally offered Taylor a raise to around $5 million, per reports, but Taylor turned it down in hopes of upping her price to match Smith’s salary.

The Suns lead the Bucks 2-0, with Game 3 scheduled for Sunday, July 11. 

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