Mark Jackson will return to ESPN as an NBA game analyst beginning Sunday for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, 12 days after the Warriors fired him as coach.

ESPN announced Saturday that Jackson agreed to a multiyear deal at a time when Jackson is open to a return to coaching.

"I'm Back!," Jackson wrote on Instagram. "Praise God!".

Jackson is scheduled to call the Eastern Conference finals between Miami and Indiana and the NBA Finals. He will rejoin broadcast partners Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy. That team worked together from 2006-11 before Jackson left to become the Warriors coach.

Jackson was fired after leading the Warriors to back-to-back playoff appearances.

"We're thrilled to welcome Mark back to ESPN and for him to reunite with Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy -- a three-person booth that was very popular and successful for us for several years," ESPN executive vice president John Wildhack said in a statement. "Mark has an outstanding NBA mind, a tremendous on-air presence and he brings a wealth of knowledge both as a player and now as a head coach."

Heat-Pacers: Indiana and Miami spent a whole season hearing about the rematch. On Sunday, the two Eastern Conference heavyweights will meet in the most intriguing fight of the year.

"Two best teams in the Eastern Conference. It's that simple," the Heat's LeBron James said.

Last year, Indiana pushed Miami to the brink before faltering in a Game 7 loss as the Heat won a second straight NBA title.

This season, the Pacers made it clear from the start they wanted the No. 1 seed to assure Miami had to play in Indianapolis if there was a Game 7. That long slog didn't end until the third-to-last night of the regular season, and it's the reason Indiana will host Game 1.

Still, most observers consider Miami the favorite.

"We like being the underdogs," Pacers guard Lance Stephenson said.

  • If Stephenson's comments are any indication, the Pacers plan to see just how healthy Heat star Dwyane Wade is. According to the Indiana guard, one way to do that is to make Wade's oft-ailing knee "flare up."

    "I think his knee is messed up, so I've got to be extra aggressive," Stephenson said, according to the Palm Beach Post. He said he plans to "make (Wade) run" and "make his knee flare up or something."

    Thunder-Spurs: Oklahoma City players explained how much Serge Ibaka will be missed. Then, they moved on.

    Ibaka hurt his left calf in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal against the Los Angeles Clippers. A day after the team learned it would likely be without its best defender for the rest of the playoffs, the Thunder began practicing for the conference finals against San Antonio. Game 1 is Monday.

    "It's unfortunate for us and for Serge," league MVP Kevin Durant said. "But it happens in this league. Nobody's ever going to feel sorry for us. We're not going to panic. We're going to continue to stick to what we do."

    Coach Scott Brooks wouldn't say how he'd fill the minutes or who'd start in Ibaka's place. He jokingly named almost every reserve as a possible replacement.

    "They have a lot of very capable players," Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. "They're a very good team."

    Knicks: Phil Jackson met with Mike Dunleavy on Friday to discuss New York's coaching job, sources told ESPN.com. Dunleavy, who has coached four teams over 17 years, is also a candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers' job, according to a source. Dunleavy last coached the Clippers from 2003-10.

    Cavaliers: General manager David Griffin says the Cavaliers are not close to hiring a new coach. Cleveland fired Mike Brown on Monday.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.