Malika Andrews is ‘strong candidate’ to host ‘NBA Countdown

Maria Taylor’s departure from ESPN means the network must find a new host for “NBA Countdown,” and one candidate seems to have emerged as a top choice.

According to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, sideline reporter Malika Andrews has emerged as a “strong candidate” to take over as the host of the network’s NBA studio show. The 26-year-old served as the sideline reporter for the NBA Finals, handling the postgame presentation for the network after the Bucks won the title. She has also served as a reporter for numerous other games, and was even hand-picked to enter the bubble in Orlando last year as ESPN’s primary on-site reporter.

Andrews is a favorite, but the job is not guaranteed, partly due to her lack of experience as a studio host. Cassidy Hubbarth, Elle Duncan, and former “Countdown” host Sage Steele are also being considered for the role.

Notably, Rachel Nichols is not being considered for the role. Nichols landed in hot water after an audio clip leaked of her complaining about losing the “Countdown” role to Taylor, which prompted ESPN to remove her from her Finals role in favor of Andrews

Whoever lands the role will be replacing Taylor, who announced her departure from ESPN earlier this week after failing to agree on a new contract.