FOUR BITS: Parsons, softball, Pouncey, Boynton

1 » The Houston Rockets have chosen to decline the fourth-year option in forward Chandler Parsons’s rookie contract, making him a restricted free agent this summer. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who first reported the team’s decision, the Rockets have every intention of bringing Parsons back but will decline his $960,000 option in hopes of “match[ing] an offer sheet and retain[ing] Parsons on a longer-term contract.” Houston is also looking to keep its cap space this summer so it can go after another big-name free agent. If the Rockets were to otherwise pick up Parsons’s option, he would be an unrestricted free agent next summer with the ability to go to the highest-paying suitor. Speaking with league executives, Wojnarowski estimates that Parsons holds a value of $12-13 million annually. Houston selected Parsons with the No. 38 overall pick in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft but signed him to a first round-caliber deal. He has seriously outplayed his rookie contract, averaging 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in his third NBA season.

2 » Florida Gators softball fans can welcome home the 2014 NCAA National Champions on Wednesday. The school will open Pressly Softball Stadium at 5 p.m. with a championship celebration expected to begin 30-90 minutes later. The event, which will include highlights and live interviews, can also be viewed live here.

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FOUR BITS: Boynton, Floyd, USA Basketball

1 » Former Florida Gators guard Kenny Boynton, who was not selected in the two-round 2013 NBA Draft last Thursday, has earned a tryout with the Los Angeles Lakers. With NBA Summer League action set to begin on July 12, Boynton is hoping to clinch a spot representing the Lakers in a pre-summer league camp the organization will hold next week in Los Angeles, CA. He will be one of 16 players looking to earn spots on the team, which will be announced at the conclusion of the camp, a team spokesman told OnlyGators.com on Tuesday. As it so happens, Boynton grew up in Pompano Beach, FL, rooting for the Lakers. Chicago Bulls forward Erik Murphy will also be competing in summer league action in Las Vegas, NV.

2 » With the Dallas Cowboys badly in need of a defensive tackle, many fans of the team were surprised that it passed over selecting one in the 2013 NFL Draft, especially considering Gators junior Sharrif Floyd was surprisingly available when the team made a selection at No. 18 overall in the first round. According to ESPNDallas.com, owner/general manager Jerry Jones did not pick Floyd because neither defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin nor defensive line coach Rod Marinelli thought Floyd was “quick-twitch” enough to succeed in the Cowboys’ 4-3 defense. Dallas’s scouts recommended that Jones choose Floyd, but he listened to the coaches instead. Floyd wound up being nabbed by the Minnesota Vikings with the 23rd pick.

Check out two more Florida Gators news BITS (one video)…after the break!
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Noah’s rough Sunday includes one point, gay slur

Post updated at 5:25 p.m.

Sunday was not the best night for Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah.

Facing the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals, Noah only posted a single point while failing to connect on an attempt from the field, grabbing just five rebounds and dishing six assists.

Additionally, his defense on Heat power forward Chris Bosh was lacking; Bosh scored most of his game-high 34 points on Noah and ended up +15.

“I never got into a rhythm,” he said. “Even if I’m not in an offensive rhythm, I have to bring more. Give Miami credit, they played well. But we can get better.”

However, what Noah will actually be remembered for from Sunday’s game is not his poor performance but rather something he said while on the bench. He apparently directed a gay slur at a heckler in the pro-Miami crowd who was repeatedly taunting him.

Note: The video below contains explicit, inflammatory language.

Like Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant received a few weeks ago, Noah will likely be handed down a fine from the NBA league office for the slur. Bryant uttered a similar phrase to a referee previously in these playoffs.

Noah has since apologized for his actions, something Bryant chose not to do.

“It’s very disappointing. I apologize if I offended anyone,” he said. “I was just caught in the moment. A fan said something that was disrespectful toward me, and I responded. I have to take the consequences like a man. It was just a bad decision on my part.”

UPDATE: Noah has since apologized a second time. “I don’t want to be a distraction for the team, and I apologize for what I said,” he said Monday. “What I said wasn’t right. I don’t want to disrespect anybody. That’s not what I’m about. I just got caught up in something a fan said and I went back at him, and I’m going to face the consequences as a man. Sometimes fans say things that are a little bit overboard, but still, it’s on us not to react. If you react, they win, and I did. It was a bad decision on my part, and I’m going to face some pretty severe consequences.”

Noah was fined $50,000 Monday evening by the NBA.

The quotes used in this post are courtesy of the Miami Herald and New York Times.

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12/20: Donovan dismayed by competitiveness

No. 19/20 Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes from his latest media availability in the following post. Suffice to say Donovan was none-too-pleased with his team’s performance against the Jacksonville Dolphins.

GATORS LACK COMPETITIVENESS AGAINST OPPONENTS

One of the main things that stood out to Donovan after Monday’s embarrassing loss to Jacksonville is the fact that his team plays down to its competition and does not get up for “smaller” games the same way it does for big-time showdowns.

“Clearly for the people that watched us play against Kansas State – two totally different teams. One team unable to handle the human element,” he said. “We were riped to be beat. We were totally riped to be beat. I’m not so sure we could have beat anybody tonight. And that’s not to take anything away from Jacksonville because their kids did a great job. […] We don’t handle that human element part of it well. You talk about being a great team? The great teams are able to do that.”

Donovan provided a thought-provoking example. “Can we be a team that is almost playing like a faceless opponent, a nameless opponent? We would have been better off tonight playing the Los Angeles Lakers,” he said. “That would have been better for us. If you’re a competitor, it doesn’t make a difference who you’re lining up and playing against. That’s an internal make-up, and I don’t know if you can all of a sudden instill that in guys. Our guys are competitive. But can you be competitive when there is no reason to be competitive? We don’t have that mentality. And I have to find a way to help them get it.”

Who exactly has that mentality? “There are certain guys that I would [say] are just killers. When they line up, competition doesn’t make a difference,” Donovan said. “You talk about Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant; there’s just a certain kind of guy that it doesn’t make a difference what happened yesterday. They do not live in any level of success. They are just focused about competing and putting their reputation on the line every time they play or compete. That’s what [Al] Horford and [Joakim] Noah, [Udonis] Haslem, [Matt] Bonner – those guys had the ability to move from one thing to the next.”

WHO IS GOING TO SHOW UP FOR FLORIDA?

Another issue Donovan says the team is facing is a relatively simple concept. “I don’t know who’s going to show up necessarily from game-to-game. So [I’m always] trying to find combinations and pieces to throw out there,” he said adamantly.

Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton showed up big against Kansas State on Saturday and redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin was the man over the last few games. Aside from junior point guard Erving Walker, who put up a lot of points out of necessity, no one truly stepped up on Monday.

“I made the comment after the Kansas State game that I was very anxious to see our guys’ level of maturity coming into a game like this,” Donovan said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever, ever sat over there in 15 years and seen a team that I’ve coached effort-wise and playing-wise and awareness-wise…forget about playing good or bad…just [being] in the game. We have 13 turnovers in the first half. I’m not so sure we ran a play.”

BLAMING HIMSELF FOR PREPAREDNESS

“I certainly did not do a good enough job in a quick turnaround in 36 hours getting them prepared to play,” Donovan admitted early in his post-game press conference. “I’m the head coach and I did not do a good enough job getting them prepared to handle Saturday-to-Monday. I did not.”

He went on to compare Florida’s faltering to how it played Central Florida coming after the tough and competitive victory against Florida State just a few days before.

“The one thing that happens during the course of the season is you’re dealing with either prosperity or adversity. We’re dealing with adversity. Our guys handle adversity pretty well. They really are a resilient group. They bounce back pretty quickly. They fight. They try to improve,” he said. “In order to be a great, great team you have to be able to handle prosperity. Because if you’re really good that means you’re winning a lot.”

THEY’RE NOT “THERE” YET…

Donovan made it a point before the season to tell the media that he did not have the high expectations for his team that were thrown on them by all of the analysts surrounding college basketball. He reiterated that statement on Monday. “I think you know why [before the season I said] I’m ‘optimistically cautious.’ And I’m probably not even optimistic right now; I’m really cautious,” he said.

Much more from head coach Billy Donovan can be read…after the break!
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Miller, Heat agree on five-year, $30 million deal

With three perennial NBA All-Stars in guard Dwyane Wade, forward LeBron James and power forward Chris Bosh now committed to play for the Miami Heat, team president and general manager Pat Riley is in the process of filling out the remainder of his roster. Riley hopes that former Florida Gators guard/forward Mike Miller will go a long way to doing just that after quickly signing the widely desired free agent to a five-year, $30 million contract Friday morning.

The former Florida star decided to accept a deal rumored to be substantially less than a “big” sum of money also offered by the Los Angeles Clippers.

Miller, extended almost the exact same contract by the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers on July 1, was rumored to have been given a deadline of Thursday night to decide whether or not he would take the Heat’s offer.

Miami is able to bring in an additional free agent after trading PF Michael Beasley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a 2011 second-round pick and the option to swap an undisclosed future first-round pick.

Teaming up with Wade, James and Bosh, Miller will have the opportunity to become the third former Gators star to win an NBA Championship with the Heat, following PF Udonis Haslem and point guard Jason Williams. San Antonio Spurs F Matt Bonner has also captured a league title.

He averaged 10.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists last year with the Washington Wizards, his only season with the team.

OGGOA RELATED: Knicks send Lee to Warriors via sign and trade

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Teams in pursuit of NBA free agents Lee, Miller

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Amar’e Stoudamire may be the names being most talked about right now as far as NBA free agency is concerned, but two former Florida Gators products are also highly coveted and being wooed by teams with varying needs throughout the league.

Former New York Knicks forward/center David Lee, who averaged career-highs of 20.2 points and 11.7 rebounds per game in 2009-10, is one of the most prominent second-tier free agents on the market. The Knicks have interest in re-signing Lee, but it appears more likely that he will catch on elsewhere seeing as he does not want to wait and find out whether or not New York hits a home run or strikes out with James.

According to reports, the Boston Celtics were the first team to contact Lee – just after 12:01 a.m. on July 1 – and are pursuing him the strongest. He will also visit with the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets and Miami Heat.

Also available is former Washington Wizards guard/forward Mike Miller, who posted averages of 10.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game last season. The Los Angeles Lakers are hot after Miller and have already offered him a five-year, $30 million contract. They have given him a deadline of July 6 to accept or decline the offer as the team looks to add one more piece for head coach Phil Jackson‘s final season.

Miller previously spoke with the Knicks – who contacted him just after free agency began – and the Heat; he is said to be very intrigued by the possibility of joining New York if the team acquires one or two marquee stars.

UPDATE: After signing point guard Steve Blake to a four-year, $16 million contract, the Lakers have withdrawn their offer for Miller; however, he is expected to be a person of interest as a complimentary peace for teams that sign the major players in free agency.

Photo Credit: Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

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Corey Brewer posterizes Derek Fisher

Corey Brewer‘s professional career with the Minnesota Timberwolves has not been a fairy tale up until this point. Drafted seventh overall in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft, the forward averaged 5.8 points and 3.7 rebounds over 79 games his rookie season. Going into 2008-09, Brewer was expected to be one of the Timberwolves’ leaders, but a torn ACL just 15 games in sidelined him for the duration. As he looks to get his NBA career rolling once again, Brewer made the highlight reel over the weekend with this dunk over Los Angeles Lakers veteran point guard Derek Fisher.

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