TNT’s Chances of Remaining Partners With the NBA Don’t Look Good at All

The NBA is expected to lock up new TV deals with ESPN, NBC and Amazon.
The NBA is expected to finalize deals with ESPN, NBC and Amazon this week, effectively ending a 35-year run with TNT after the 2024–25 season.
The NBA is expected to finalize deals with ESPN, NBC and Amazon this week, effectively ending a 35-year run with TNT after the 2024–25 season. / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

1. It’s looking more and more likely that TNT’s 35-year run airing the NBA will come to an end after next season.

Sports Business Journal reports Wednesday that the NBA is expected to finalize deals this week with ESPN, NBC and Amazon. SBJ also reports that it’s likely that TNT’s parent company, Warner Brothers Discovery, will end up taking legal action against the NBA over the issue of matching rights.

While WBD has the right to match NBC’s offer, there seems to be an issue about whether that means simply the financial value of the deal or what the deal entails in terms of programming. NBA’s deal will reportedly call for a couple of games a week to air on NBC. WBD can’t match that because WBD doesn’t have an over-the-air station, just cable stations.

It seems clear that for whatever reason, the NBA doesn’t want to continue its partnership with TNT. It also seems clear that the NBA wants to get in bed with NBC. And it seems clear the NBC will pay whatever it has to in order to get rights to the NBA so they can put a bunch of games on Peacock.

According to SBJ, the value of each deal is as follows:

ESPN: $2.8 billion
NBC: $2.6 billion
Amazon: Between $1.8-$2 billion

SBJ also reported that NBC’s package would feature Basketball Night in America on Sunday nights once the NFL season ends. 

Meanwhile, John Tesh, the composer of NBC’s immensely popular NBA theme song, Roundball Rock, told Dan Le Batard on Tuesday that NBC has already reached out to him about using the song again when it starts airing games.

One thing to keep in mind is that the new deals won’t go into effect until the 2025–26 season.

TNT and Inside the NBA will still be around for the 2024–25 season. While the thought of losing the iconic studio show featuring Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal is hard to take, the thought of a Charles Barkley with even less you-know-what to gives on television next season would be electric.

2. Speaking of Inside the NBA, Ernie Johnson won the Sports Emmy on Tuesday night for best studio show host. I could be reading too much into it, but an emotional Johnson definitely seemed like a man who knew the end was near for his show while giving his eloquent touching acceptance speech.

3. There’s going to be so much analysis of the Pacers’ surreal collapse against the Celtics on Tuesday night, but it’s all just nonsense. Indiana lost the game, and more importantly, a chance to make the series appointment television, because of one thing and one thing only: Andrew Nembhard couldn’t inbound the ball with his team up three and just 10 seconds left in the game.

4. Rangers shortshop Kyle Seager hit a home run against the Phillies last night that ended in the destruction one fan’s nachos.

However, that wasn’t the most notable aspect of his dinger. After the homer was reviewed and confirmed, the umpire left his mic on and was heard saying, “See that was one where we all, we thought it was gone. But we're just like, it's a crew chief review and we're gonna go. Cause we're not gonna flip it and then f---ing look stupid if it didn't leave."

5. This is pretty big news in the NFL world. The league has finally realized it’s 2024 and will scrap the chain for electronics when it comes to measuring yardage needed for a first down. CBS Sports’s Jonathan Jones reported that the NFL will use an optical tracking system during preseason games this year. If all goes well, the league will then bring the new system to the regular season.

6. Immediately after the NFL schedule was released last Wednesday night, I taped the latest SI Media With Jimmy Traina podcast with NFL VP of Broadcast Planning, Mike North, who plays a major role in putting together the schedule.

North talks about the challenges in putting together the 2024 schedule, why the league decided to play on Christmas Day (which takes place on a Wednesday), how the Christmas games affected the rest of the schedule, who will produce and broadcast the two Christmas games on Netflix, why the NFL went all-in on the Texans, whether the Chiefs have replaced the Cowboys as America's Team, how flex scheduling will work, why there won't be a national doubleheader in Week 1 and much more.

Following North, Sal Licata from WFAN and SNY joins me for our weekly "Traina Thoughts" segment. This week's topics include Aaron Rodgers's eye-opening admission, Tom Brady's backpedal on his Netflix roast and a shady move by a restaurant. I also read recent Apple reviews for the SI Media With Jimmy Traina.

You can also listen to the SI Media With Jimmy Traina below or on Apple and Spotify.

You can also watch SI Media With Jimmy Traina on Sports Illustrated‘s YouTube channel.

7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: This seems like a good day to remember one of Inside the NBA’s all-time great moments.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on AppleSpotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.

Jimmy Traina


Jimmy Traina is a media writer and podcast host for Sports Illustrated. A 20-year veteran, he’s been covering the media industry for seven years and writes a weekly column at SI, Traina Thoughts. Jimmy has hosted the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast since 2018, a show known for interviews with some of the most important and powerful people in sports media. He also was the creator and writer for SI’s Hot Clicks feature from 2007 to 2013.