Lakers announce new voices
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Lakers announced their new broadcast teams for the upcoming season and both the radio and television crews will have new play-by-play voices.
Spero Dedes, 31, who had been the Lakers radio play-by-play voice for the previous six seasons, will not be returning. He is moving on to call Knicks games for ESPN Radio 1050 in New York, according to the New York Daily News.
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"We allowed Spero to miss several Lakers games from time to time over the past few years in order to do national events for the NFL and college basketball," said Lakers spokesman John Black in an email on Tuesday. "However, for our TV play-by-play position, we insist that that person not miss any games because we feel it is important to our fans to have consistency and continuity and to have the same announcer for all games.
"We were clear on this with Spero and he agreed to it, so we had a verbal agreement with him to become our TV play-by-play announcer beginning next season. However, prior to getting a contract finalized with him, Spero had a change of heart and decided to pursue another option, which would allow him to continue doing national events."
While working for the Lakers, Dedes also served as a play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports, calling NFL and men's college basketball games. He was also a host for the NFL Network.
John Ireland, who has been the Lakers' sideline reporter on KCAL 9 since 2002 and co-hosts the Mason & Ireland Show on 710 ESPN, will call the radio play-by-play alongside former Laker Mychal Thompson on the Lakers' flagship radio station, 710 ESPN.
"I'm honored that I get the chance to call the Lakers on 710 ESPN, and I'm really looking forward to doing the games with Mychal -- who is a lot of fun to work with," Ireland wrote in an email to ESPNLosAngeles.com. "It's a great opportunity that I can't wait to start. Now, like a lot of NBA fans, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the players and owners can reach a deal, and that we'll have a full season."
Bill Macdonald, who has been with Fox Sports West since 1985, will call the television play-by-play with long-time color analyst Stu Lantz on KCAL 9 and Fox Sports West.
"I think the Lakers fans will be served by having a radio play-by-play voice in John Ireland interact with listeners throughout the day," said 710 ESPN program director Michael Thompson. "It's probably the first time that has ever happened in Los Angeles."
Joel Meyers, who had been the Lakers' television play-by-play announcer since 2005 after serving the previous two seasons as the team's radio play-by-play man, did not get his contract renewed after last season.
Fernando Gonzalez, entering his 15th season as the Lakers Spanish play-by-play announcer, and Jose "Pepe" Mantilla, who has served as color commentator for Lakers Spanish broadcasts since 1993, will once again broadcast games on 1330 ESPN Deportes, the team's Spanish language flagship.
Arash Markazi is a columnist and reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com.