Marreese Speights set to sign with Golden State

Monday evening the Golden State Warriors and free agent center Marreese Speights agreed in principle on a multi-year contract that can be signed when NBA restrictions are lifted on July 10, according to TNT’s David Aldridge.

Speights, who will be joining his fourth team entering his sixth season in the league, averaged 8.3 points and 4.9 rebounds in 16.5 minutes per game during the 2012-13 regular season. He played mostly as a reserve, starting three total games.

After playing the first 40 games with the Memphis Grizzlies, which signed him to a two-year, $8 million contract in the offseason, Speights was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers where he played the final 39 games of the campaign.

Following the season, he chose to opt out of the second year of his contract in hopes of securing a multi-year deal, leaving $4.5 million on the table.

According to USA Today‘s Sam Amick, Speights’s deal is for three years with the third year being a team option.

Speights appears to have secured the contract he was looking for and joins fellow former Florida Gators power forward David Lee in Golden State’s frontcourt. Lee earned his second career NBA All-Star nod last season as he averaged 18.5 points, 11.2 boards and 3.5 assists last season while starting 79 games for the Warriors.

Lee and Speights never played together at Florida. Lee left as a four-year senior in the spring of 2005; Speights joined the Gators a full season later in the fall of 2006.

The duo is the third pair of former Florida players on an NBA roster together as of press time joining C Joakim Noah and forward Erik Murphy of the Chicago Bulls and guard Mike Miller and PF Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat.

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FOUR BITS: NBA free agents, USA, Tyus, Parsons

1 » Center Marreese Speights is not the only former Florida Gators player making news at the start of free agency for the 2013-14 NBA season. According to Yahoo! Sports‘ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Golden State Warriors have put power forward David Lee on the trading block. Though Lee had a fantastic season for Golden State, averaging 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game on his way to the second All-Star nod of his career, he has three years and $44 million left on a maximum contract he signed two years ago. Joining Speights on the market early Monday morning was F Corey Brewer, who averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 24.4 minutes per game during the 2012-13 season with the Denver Nuggets. The Houston Chronicle reported Monday that the Houston Rockets will be meeting with Brewer soon in Los Angeles, CA. Also likely on the move this offseason is point guard Nick Calathes, who has yet to play in the NBA but still has his rights held by the Dallas Mavericks, which drafted him with a second-round pick in 2009. Dallas recently signed an Israeli player at Calathes’s position, making “it very likely” that his rights will be traded, according to ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon.

2 » USA Basketball started competing in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship over the weekend, finishing 3-0 in the preliminary round with three blowout victories. The Americans, led by Gators head coach Billy Donovan, defeated Ivory Coast 88-29 on Thursday, China 113-57 on Friday and Russia 115-47 on Saturday. Donovan is now 8-0 all-time in international competitions with last week’s 61-point average margin of victory leading the United States to a win in Group D and a spot in the second group stage. Florida rising sophomore guard Michael Frazier II struggled with his shooting a bit during the three games. In 17:49 against Ivory Coast, Frazier went 1-for-8 (0-for-4 from three) for two points with five rebounds. In 19:24 against China, he had his best game by going 5-of-13 (4-of-11 from downtown) for 15 points. Facing Russia, Frazier finished 5-for-12 (2-for-8 from long range) with 12 points, three boards and two assists.

3 » Former Gators F Alex Tyus on Monday inked a three-year, $1.1 million deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv and will return to Israel (where he is a member of the national team) after a one-season stint in Russia with Pallacanestro Cantu. He averaged 8.1 points and 3.7 rebounds during the 2012-13 campaign but fared better in the Israeli League as he posted averages of 12.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks during the 2011-12 season. Tyus, who converted to Judaism in 2011 before signing with Maccabi Ashdod out of college, could remain with Maccabi Tel Aviv through the 2015-16 season as the third year of the contract is a club option.

4 » The Rockets are believed to be the front runners to land C Dwight Howard, the top free agent available during the 2013 offseason, and Houston is using former Florida F Chandler Parsons as a big part of its pitch. According to the Houston Chronicle, Parsons “speaks often with Howard” and discusses not just the Rockets’ success on the court but also the chemistry in the locker room. “We have great guys,” Parsons told the paper. “We don’t have any egos. We don’t’ have any cocky, arrogant guys. We have guys with the same mindset and same attitude. We genuinely all like each other and enjoy playing together. All of us text back and forth pretty much every day. Whether it’s us joking around or us talking about what we’re doing to get better or trying to get together in the same city for group workouts, we’re always looking for ways to get better and stay in touch and keep that relationship most teams don’t have. We’re all friends. We’re all thinking about each other.”

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12 Gator Bites for Friday, May 31

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» Despite signing a National Letter of Intent in February and expecting to be a member of the Class of 2013, three-star defensive tackle Jarran Reed (Scooba, MS) will not be joining the Florida Gators this season. Reed was hoping to obtain his associate degree from East Mississippi Community College in one year but fell about 25 credits short. Instead, he will continue playing for EMCC in 2013 with hopes of completing his coursework and departing before the spring semester starts…though he may no longer be heading to Florida. According to The Gainesville Sun, Reed has decided to reopen his recruitment but does have the Gators at the top. “Florida is my favorite school,” he said. “But at the same time, I don’t want to close any doors just in case something crazy happens. I’d like to go on [official] visits. Who doesn’t want to take free trips?”

» South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier was honored Thursday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium with the state of Florida’s Great Floridian Award, presented to him by Governor Rick Scott. Also in attendance were Gators head coach Will Muschamp and athletic director Jeremy Foley. Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow received the honor just one month ago. Check out the local news report by GTN’s Julie Quittner.

» Former Gators cheerleader Caroline Davidson, who concluded her run with the spirit program in 2010, had successful brain surgery to completely remove a tumor on Thursday. Her mother, Kimberly Davidson, posted on Facebook that Caroline was in ICU recovering after the surgery but all signs were positive.

Check out nine more interesting bites of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » 12 Gator Bites for Friday, May 31

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Gators Lee, Noah, Beal earn 2012-13 NBA honors

Three former Florida Gators basketball players – two veterans and one rookie – earned 2012-13 regular season honors from the NBA this year.

On Thursday, Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee was named to the All-NBA third team, becoming just the second player in school history to receive such an honor (Al Horford, third team, 2010-11). Lee concluded the season first in the league in double-doubles and top-five in defensive rebounds, total rebounds and efficiency. He was also top-10 in field goals made and triple-doubles.

Lee averaged a double-double of 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds (with 3.5 assists) per game while shooting .519 from the field and .797 from the charity stripe.

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah was chosen to the NBA’s All-Defensive team for the second time in three years and remains the only Florida player to ever receive the honor. He was chosen for the second team in 2010-11 but garnered first-team honors this season as he received eight first-place votes (out of 30 voters).

Noah ranked in the top-10 in offensive rebounds, blocks and triple-doubles this season. He averaged career-bests of 11.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.2 steals in a career-high 36.8 minutes per game in 2012-13.

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal was a near-unanimous selection to the NBA All-Rookie first team, receiving 28-of-29 first-place votes.

Beal became the sixth Gators player to be chosen to the All-Rookie team (Jason Williams, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Horford, Chandler Parsons) and the fourth to be picked for the first team (Williams, Miller, Horford).

While battling through numerous injuries, Beal averaged 13.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while shooting .410 from the field, .386 from three and .786 from the free throw line in 31.2 minutes per game.

At least one former Florida player was named to each of the three teams in the same season for the first time in school history.

All-NBAAll-DefensiveAll-Rookie
David Lee (2012-13)
Third Team
Joakim Noah (2012-13)
First Team
Bradley Beal (2012-13)
First Team
Al Horford (2010-11)
Third Team
Joakim Noah (2010-11)
Second Team
Chandler Parsons (2011-12)
Second Team
Al Horford (2007-08)
First Team
Udonis Haslem (2003-04)
Second Team
Mike Miller (2000-01)
First Team
Jason Williams (1998-99)
First Team

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Former Gators in the 2013 NBA Playoffs – Round 2

Eight of the 10 former Florida Gators playing in the NBA during the 2012-13 season moved on to the playoffs. With the second round of action in the books, three of those eight remain alive as their teams compete for a chance at an NBA title. Below is a summary of how these Gators performed during the second round.

* Players names in orange have advanced to the conference championship round.

STARTERS (3)
C JOAKIM NOAH, Chicago Bulls: GP/GS (5/5), MIN (38.4), PPG (9.8), RPG (9.2), APG (2.4), SPG (1.2), BPG (0.8) | FG% (.410), 3P% (.000), FT% (.850)
» Highlights: Two double-doubles – 13 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals (Game 1); 15 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two blocks, two steals (Game 3)
» Notes: Noah missed eight games in April with plantar fasciitis and should not be active during the playoffs. Instead, he helped propel the Bulls past the first round and led the team in rebounding in five of the 12 games in which he played.
» Playoffs: (5) Chicago fell to (1) Miami in five games.

F/C DAVID LEE, Golden State Warriors: GP/GS (4/0), MIN (8.8), PPG (5.0), RPG (3.3), APG (0.8), SPG (0.8), BPG (0.0) | FG% (.500), 3P% (.000), FT% (1.000)
» Highlights: Nine points, five rebounds, two assists (Game 6)
» Notes: Lee tore his right hip flexor during the first game of the playoffs and was ruled out for the postseason. He played sparingly as inspiration and motivation for his team.
» Playoffs: (6) Golden State fell to (2) San Antonio in six games.

PF UDONIS HASLEM, Miami Heat: GP/GS (5/5), MIN (18.2), PPG (5.2), RPG (3.2), APG (0.6), SPG (1.6), BPG (0.2) | FG% (.650), 3P% (.000), FT% (.000)
» Highlights: Six points, seven rebounds, two steals (Game 4)
» Playoffs: (1) Miami beat (5) Chicago in five games and advanced to face (3) Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals, which begin on Wednesday.

RESERVES (2)
G/F MIKE MILLER, Miami Heat: GP/GS (3/0), MIN (6.3), PPG (2.3), RPG (1.7), APG (1.0), SPG (0.0), BPG (0.0) | FG% (.429), 3P% (.200), FT% (.000)
» Highlights: Five points, three rebounds (Game 1)
» Playoffs: (1) Miami beat (5) Chicago in five games and advanced to face (3) Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals, which begin on Wednesday..

F MATT BONNER, San Antonio Spurs: GP/GS (6/0), MIN (9.7), PPG (2.0), RPG (1.2), APG (0.3), SPG (0.0), BPG (0.0) | FG% (.455), 3P% (.333), FT% (.000)
» Highlights: Five points, two rebounds (Game 1)
» Playoffs: (2) San Antonio beat (6) Golden State in six games and advanced to face (5) Memphis in the Western Conference finals, which began on Sunday.

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Former Gators in the 2013 NBA Playoffs – Round 1

Eight of the 10 former Florida Gators playing in the NBA during the 2012-13 season moved on to the playoffs. With the first round of action in the books, five of those eight remain alive as their teams compete for a chance at an NBA title. Below is a summary of how these Gators performed during the first round.

* Players names highlighted in orange have advanced to the second round.

PLAYER OF THE ROUND
C JOAKIM NOAH, Chicago Bulls: GP/GS (7/7), MIN (30.9), PPG (11.4), RPG (9.9), APG (2.3), SPG (0.6), BPG (3.1) | FG% (.450), 3P% (.000), FT% (.421)
» Highlights: Four double-doubles (one 20-10 game); game-highs of 24 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks (Game 7)
» Notes: Noah missed eight games in April with plantar fasciitis and should not be active during the playoffs. Instead, he led the Bulls to a big Game 7 victory and led the team in rebounding three times during the series.
» Playoffs: (5) Chicago beat (4) Brooklyn in seven games and advanced to face (1) Miami in the Eastern Conference semifinals, which begin on Monday.

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NBA played in the first round…

Continue Reading » Former Gators in the 2013 NBA Playoffs – Round 1

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FOUR BITS: Lee hurt, Elam, Tebow, Floyd doubted

1 » Golden State Warriors All-Star forward David Lee was ruled out for the season on Saturday after he tore his right hip flexor during Game 1 of his team’s first-round playoff series. “I knew [Saturday] night when I did it. I felt it pop,” Lee told a group of reporters before his team’s Sunday practice. “I went to run back on defense and had absolutely no sensation in my leg. It wasn’t even painful as much as it was just [numb].” Though Lee is unlikely to need surgery on the tear, he is expected to remain off the court for at least three months. He led the NBA in double-doubles this season and was ranked top-10 in the league in a number of other categories including defensive rebounds, total rebounds, efficiency, field goals made and triple-doubles. “We can’t replace him, and we know that,” head coach Mark Jackson said. “We have some guys on our bench that can do some things to cover up his absence, but we cannot replace David Lee.”

2 » FORBES contributor Darren Heitner penned an article that took a look at Florida Gators safety Matt Elam as the only top prospect set to enter the 2013 NFL Draft without an agent. Though Elam at some point will need to at least hire a contract advisor or lawyer to help him sort out a deal after he is drafted, he has been able to go through the process up to this point without one because of the financial backing and experience of his brother (NFL safety Abram Elam). “Not to discredit any agent, but Matt has done the things to put himself in a position to have a high draft grade without an agent,” Abe Elam told FORBES. “There is no contract right now to be evaluated because he hasn’t been drafted yet. At some point we will have to address whether Matt should hire an agent or an attorney. We are not biased against agents; we have just been able to delay the process because of the resources he has.”

3 » Quarterback coach Steve Clarkson spent much of last week praising quarterback Tim Tebow, claiming he fixed problems with the player’s mechanics after spending three days working with him earlier this offseason in Scottsdale, AZ. And while Clarkson’s evaluation of Tebow may very well be correct, not much about his statements appears to be accurate. According quarterback coaches Dennis Gile and Mike Giavondo, who spoke with SB Nation over the weekend, Clarkson only spent a single day working with Tebow while they worked with him for three months in Scottsdale. “We put in a lot of time and effort for [no pay] to really help [Tebow],” Gile told the website. How much did Gile and Giavondo actually help Tebow improve? “Steve Young’s mouth was hitting the floor,” said Gile after noting that both Young and Jim Zorn watched Tebow throw. “’Wow, you got it!’ is what he said exactly.”

Check out one more BIT on Sharrif Floyd…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Lee hurt, Elam, Tebow, Floyd doubted

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Former Florida Gators in the NBA: April 2013

With the 2012-13 NBA regular season concluding on Wednesday, 10 former Florida Gators basketball players spread over nine teams participated in the sixth month of action (16 total days), many of whom had an impact on their respective team’s performances.

For the first time, OGGOA is checking and re-checking the box scores month-by-month to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplish throughout the entire 2012-13 season.

* Players names highlighted in orange have advanced to the 2013 NBA Playoffs.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH
F/C DAVID LEE, Golden State Warriors: GP/GS (8/8), MIN (37.9), PPG (18.1), RPG (11.9), APG (2.1), SPG (1.0), BPG (0.5), TPG (2.0), FPG (2.5), A/TO (1.1)
» Shooting: FG% (.560), 3P% (.000), FT% (.742)
» Highlights: Seven double-doubles (four-straight); 23 points, 16 rebounds, four assists vs. New Orleans on April 3; 22 points, 14 rebounds, two assists at Phoenix on April 5
» Top 10 ranks (season): Double-doubles (No. 1); defensive rebounds per game (No. 2); defensive rebounds (No. 3); rebounds per game and total efficiency points (No. 4); total rebounds and efficiency ranking (No. 5); field goals made and efficiency ranking per 48 mins. (No. 9); triple-doubles and defensive rebounds per 48 mins. (No. 10)
» Playoffs: The Warriors are the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference and will take on the No. 3 Denver Nuggets beginning on Saturday.

Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NBA played this month…
Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NBA: April 2013

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