John Ireland Rumors
The Lakers’ rebuilding process may appear uncertain. But clarity emerged on another front. The Lakers and KSPN-710AM reached an agreement that will extend their radio play-by-play partnership for two additional seasons up through 2021-22. John Ireland will continue as the Lakers’ radio play-by-play announced, while Mychal Thompson will remain as the color analyst. Lakers president and part owner Jeanie Buss made the announcement on Tuesday as a guest on KSPN-710AM. “ESPN and the ESPN brand are synonymous with excellence, and we’re proud to be affiliated with them,” Lakers Senior Vice President of Business Operations/COO Tim Harris said in a statement. “The management and employees are consummate professionals and people we enjoy working with, and we’re very pleased to extend our partnership with them.”
The Lakers announced Monday they signed radio play-by-play announcer John Ireland and color analyst Mychal Thompson to multi-year contract extensions. Ireland just completed his first season at the mic after serving as a TV sideline reporter for many seasons. Thompson, who played on the Lakers’ NBA championship teams in 1987 and ’88, will begin his 10th season as a radio analyst in 2012-13.
The Lakers have agreed to multiyear deals with broadcasters Bill Macdonald and Stu Lantz, making them the centerpiece of the team’s move to a newly created Time Warner Cable channel next season, The Times has learned. Macdonald is in his first year as the Lakers’ play-by-play announcer, and Lantz is in his 25th year as their color commentator. After a decades-long partnership with Fox Sports West and Channel 9, the Lakers begin a 20-year deal with Time Warner Cable next season. It could be extended to 25 years and total more than $5 billion if the Lakers pick up an option for five more years in 2032. Macdonald was on a one-year contract this season after replacing Joel Meyers and becoming the Lakers’ third play-by-play announcer since Chick Hearn. Radio broadcasters John Ireland and Mychal Thompson are also expected to be retained next season by the Lakers, though nothing has been finalized.
On 710 ESPN Radio Ireland stated that he heard a rumor from a source that Howard to the Nets would go down as early as Tuesday. This is the same source that correctly predicted LeBron James and Chris Bosh joining Dwyane Wade in Miami last summer. Theoretically the Lakers still have the best offer on the table if they’re willing to part with both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, but that is a lot to give up for one player.
The Lakers have hired Bill Macdonald to do TV play-by-play and John Ireland to do radio play-by-play for their local broadcasts in the 2011-12 season. Spero Dedes had hoped in April a deal would work out for him to move from radio to the Lakers’ TV job. But things changed during negotiations that included Dedes wanting to continue periodic work for CBS on the NFL and college basketball and other national jobs — and Dedes is instead headed to be a radio and TV play-by-play man for the New York Knicks, who will allow him to do some national work. “We had a verbal agreement with Spero to be our new TV play-by-play announcer,” Lakers spokesman John Black said. “However, prior to getting a finalized contract, he had a change of heart and decided to pursue another job.”
He said he made up for his hyperbolic commentary by donating $1,000 to “Walk Now for Autism Speaks.” He said he hoped to encourage others to reach his goal of $2,344. Whipty-do! I would guess our hyperbolic commentator is a millionaire by now, working TV and radio. So why isn’t he donating $2,344 himself to cover the 2,344 miles he failed to walk?
That would suggest anyone listening to sports talk is a moron or a fan of WWE, although if Vince McMahon said he was walking home from Cleveland, he’d have more credibility. “I looked into it,” claimed Ireland. “I figured it would take 10 weeks to walk the 2,344 miles.” That’s less than 34 miles a day, or a reminder we’re not talking about an athlete here. Ireland is not only the star of “Mason & Ireland” but also the more likable. More sensible. Better-dressed too. Certainly not the one you’d expect to weasel out of anything.
Well, walk a mile in Ireland’s shoes and you will be the first to do so. When I asked Ireland about misleading everyone, he said, “I should tell you, you shouldn’t believe me when I talk.” Sounds like a great 710 promo: “We talk a lot here, but don’t believe a word we say.” “That’s sports talk radio,” Ireland said. “We’re all guilty of hyperbolic commentary and embellishing things.”
A few weeks back, someone suggested the Lakers might lose to Cleveland. You know how skittish Lakers fans have been this season with so many ups and downs. Ireland immediately and emphatically put everyone’s mind at ease, saying it was not possible. He said that if the Lakers lost in Cleveland, he would walk home. Well, he lied.