ESPN president John Skipper made the announcement, saying Simmons and the company could not agree to terms on a new contract after talks went on for months. Skipper also noted that the decision not to renew Simmons' contract was more than just about money.
Per Richard Sandomire of The New York Times:
“I’ve decided that I’m not going to renew his contract,” said John Skipper, the president of ESPN. “We’ve been talking to Bill and his agent and it was clear we weren’t going to get to the terms, so we were better off focusing on transition.”
Simmons has been employed by ESPN for the last 15 years and has built up a reputation for being one of the smartest basketball minds in the country. Simmons has never been afraid of being in the spotlight, as his fandom for all Boston sports, particularly the Celtics, is incredibly well documented.
The writing on the wall for his departure from ESPN about a year ago, when he was suspended by the company for calling NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a liar (even though Simmons was right about what he said) and then dared his bosses to fire him.
Simmons is also responsible for starting Grantland, an extension of ESPN that he is the editor-in-chief for. He became a regular on NBA Countdown, as well as other NBA-related programming, including ESPN's coverage of the draft.
He and Jalen Rose have been co-hosting a weekly mailbag show for Grantland that has been featured on ESPN/ESPN 2.
Simmons resides in Los Angeles with his family and is a regular at Clippers and L.A. Kings games throughout the year. But he's usually in the Boston area somewhat often and has been seen at numerous Celtics games, as well as a few Bruins games. Who could forget the time he sat front row at Game 4 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals and proceeded to call former B's forward Rich Peverley, "Patrick Beverely?"
He also once got into it with Doc Rivers when Rivers left the Celtics to coach the Clippers in 2013, but the two have since made amends.
He gets a pass for that, though, since he's admitted numerous times his love for the Bruins had diminished due to years of frugality by owner Jeremy Jacobs.
It goes without saying that Simmons has built himself up as one of the most well-known and well-respected sports personalities in the business. Where he goes next is anyone's guess, but he will continue to work with Grantland. After all these years, his articles are still a lot of fun to read and he always makes the most of his television appearances.
Simmons will be missed at ESPN, but it won't be long at all before someone snatches him up.
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