Matt Bullard not returning as television analyst for Rockets

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In a year of dramatic change for the Houston Rockets as an organization, headlined by the departures of former superstar James Harden, general manager Daryl Morey, head coach Mike D’Antoni, and CEO Tad Brown, they can now add television analyst to that long list.

Former player and longtime TV analyst Matt Bullard will not return to his usual role, as first reported by Jackson Gatlin of the Locked on Rockets podcast. Bullard played nine of his 11 NBA seasons in Houston, primarily during the 1990s, and he began calling games as a team broadcaster in the 2005-06 season. Bullard was a reserve forward for the 1993-94 squad that became the first in franchise history to win the NBA title.

Bullard told Gatlin that he was not given a reason for the decision, and he did not ask. Among his comments, via Houston CBS affiliate KHOU:

They called me just a couple days ago and said that they were not going to be renewing my contract. It was a big surprise to me. I felt like the work that we did this year on AT&T SportsNet in the middle of a pandemic — calling games off of monitors, and not being able to travel and be with the team — I felt like the product that we put out this year was some of our best work.

I was looking forward to getting right back at it next season, but they called and said that they will not be renewing my contract. So I won’t be back on AT&T SportsNet next season.

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As a broadcaster, Bullard was nominated for two individual Lone Star EMMY Awards (2010 and 2015) and was part of the broadcast team that won the Lone Star EMMY Award for Live Production in 2013. Most recently, Bullard worked for AT&T SportsNet Southwest, which is the local television affiliate that now broadcasts most of the team’s games.

Veteran play-by-play broadcaster Bill Worrell, who worked with Bullard over the last 15 years, is also not returning to the booth. As part of a gradual retirement plan, Worrell had transitioned to home-only broadcasts over the last few seasons, with Craig Ackerman — the team’s longtime voice on radio broadcasts — taking over the road TV duties.

Since Worrell and Ackerman were only working half of the games, Bullard’s departure could feel the most significant to TV viewers. After all, he and courtside reporter Cayleigh Griffin (who joined prior to the 2019-20 season) were the only consistent voices on local broadcasts.

The Rockets and AT&T SportsNet Southwest have yet to announce their broadcasters for the 2021-22 season, which is likely to begin in October. The timetable for announcements beyond Bullard is not yet clear.

Related

Legendary Houston broadcaster Bill Worrell to step down after season

Cayleigh Griffin hired as courtside reporter for Rockets' broadcasts

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