Last week, ESPN cut some of its reporters and on-air personnel. But the sports programmer is also hiring: It has finalized a deal to hire Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo’s star NBA reporter.
Sources familiar with ESPN’s plan say Wojnarowski will begin working for ESPN after the June 22 NBA draft. (Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Wojnarowski and some of this team would begin working for ESPN in time to cover the draft). I’m told the network also intends to bring aboard some of the staff of The Vertical, the NBA site Wojnarowski launched for Yahoo 2016.
An ESPN rep declined to comment; I’ve asked Wojnarowski for comment but haven’t heard back.
Wojnarowski tweeted this out after I published this story; Yahoo’s PR department also forwarded the tweet in response to my request for comment.
Wojnarowski is the highest-profile reporter covering pro basketball and is a one-man scoop machine, best known for tracking player trades and signings; he is famed for dispensing his scoops in real time on Twitter.
Bringing him aboard means ESPN is hiring its most prominent and fierce competitor.
Wojnarowski’s hire is also happening at the same time that ESPN is letting some of its other basketball talent go. Last week, longtime ESPN NBA reporters Marc Stein and Chad Ford said they were part of the company’s mass layoffs.
Last year, Wojnarowski started The Vertical as part of a four-year deal reportedly worth millions. His departure means that Verizon, which is scheduled to acquire Yahoo for $4.5 billion in June, won’t get one of Yahoo’s highest-profile talents as part of the deal.
People familiar with both companies say Yahoo told Verizon that Wojnarowski might leave last fall; Deadspin reported on his possible departure in February.
Last year on Recode Media, I spoke to Wojnarowski about why he made the jump from print to Yahoo:
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.