Rachel Nichols has been AXED from covering the NBA Finals … with the ESPN reporter losing her sideline gig following her controversial comments regarding Maria Taylor.

Nichols sparked outrage after leaked audio from 2020 went public over the weekend … when she was heard on audio scheming ways to prevent Taylor from sliding into her studio hosting gig.

While Nichols apologized Monday for her comments and praised Taylor on Monday, ESPN has decided to keep her on the bench for the 2021 Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns.

The network announced rising star Malika Andrews — who’s been an NBA insider since 2018 — will take over the mic starting Tuesday night … saying, “We believe this is best decision for all concerned in order to keep the focus on the NBA Finals.”

It’s unclear if the move is permanent, but ESPN says Nichols will continue to host “The Jump.”

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