FOUR BITS: Parsons, Miller, Summer Leagues

1 » With LeBron James’s decision to return to Cleveland now made, the reverberations will be felt throughout the NBA with two former Florida Gators players likely to be immediately affected. Forward Chandler Parsons, a Houston Rockets restricted free agent who signed a three-year, $46 million offer sheet with the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, now looks to be headed back to Houston. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Rockets now plan to match the Mavericks’ offer sheet. Houston must first compete trades to open up the necessary cap space to sign Chris Bosh; once Bosh has inked his deal, the Rockets can reacquire Parsons by using his Bird rights. A source told OnlyGators.com on Wednesday evening that Parsons preferred to continue his career in Dallas, though that same source told OnlyGators.com on Friday that Parsons is now very excited about the opportunity to play in a “Big Four” in Houston.

Update: Friday evening, Bosh spurned the Rockets and decided to remain with the Heat on a five-year, $118 million contract. How this affects Houston’s desire to match Parsons’s offer sheet with Dallas remains to be seen, though doing so would certainly eat into the Rockets’ potential 2015-16 cap space. Additionally, Parsons’s sheet includes an opt-out after year two as well as a 15 percent trade kicker.

2 » Also affected by James is F Mike Miller, who originally hoped to return to the Memphis Grizzlies to conclude his career. According to Wojnarowski, James reached out to Miller this week about potentially joining him in Cleveland. Miller is currently in negotiations with Memphis and the Denver Nuggets with teams like Oklahoma City also extremely interested in his services. He is seeking a three-year contract worth $4-5 million per season but could certainly accept a little less to reunite with James and potentially win more NBA titles before retirement.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Parsons, Miller, Summer Leagues

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SIX BITS: SEC Network, Roper, Mincey, Wilbekin

1 » ESPN announced on Wednesday that it has reached a deal with Cox Communications for the cable operator to carry the SEC Network at its launch on Aug. 14, 2014. This is great news for Florida Gators fans, which can now be sure that they will be able to watch their team on the city’s biggest provider. Cox Cable is available to fans in five of the 11 states that host Southeastern Conference teams. With AT&T U-verse, DISH Network and Google Fiber on board, now Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon FIOS and DirecTV remain as the major operators not currently signed on with the SEC Network for launch. However, AT&T’s proposed purchase of DirecTV could make that agreement easier, and the merger between Comcast and Time Warner makes it likely that one of those dominoes will fall soon after the other as Comcast appears to be the next in line to make a deal with the World Wide Leader in Sports. Company spokesman John Demming claims that Comcast and ESPN are “working out final details” for the network with an agreement expected to be announced “in the near future.”


Continue Reading » SIX BITS: SEC Network, Roper, Mincey, Wilbekin

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FOUR BITS: Parsons, Zunino, Macklin, Fulwood

1 » The Dallas Mavericks, unlikely to land Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James in free agency, have set their sights on Houston Rockets restricted free agent Chandler Parsons. ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard and Yahoo! Sports insider Adrian Wojnarowski both reported Monday that Parsons is very much on the open market considering a number of options but that Dallas is the most likely team other than Houston to make a major play for the small forward. Parsons is coming off a career-best year in which he averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists. The Rockets did not pick up his team option as the franchise was hoping to pursue a big-name free agent before potentially bringing him back into the fold. Houston hopes that some of the other major stars will make their decisions before July 10, which is when Dallas will likely make Parsons a serious offer; the Rockets would then have just three days to match the Mavericks’ term sheet.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Parsons, Zunino, Macklin, Fulwood

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FOUR BITS: Wilbekin, Macklin, Reed, Beal, Miller

1 » The first session of the NBA Summer League began on Saturday and will last from July 5-11 in Orlando, Florida. Only two of the 10 teams participating have former Florida Gators on their rosters with rookie point guard Scottie Wilbekin playing for the Memphis Grizzlies and center Vernon Macklin getting run with the Orlando Magic. Macklin posted two points and two boards in 17 minutes on Saturday, while Wilbekin finished with five assists, two rebounds, a steal and a turnover in 13 minutes. Below is the rest of the Orlando schedule; all games air live nationally on NBA TV.

Sunday, July 6 at 3 p.m. – Memphis (Wilbekin) vs. Detroit
Monday, July 7 at 5 p.m. – Orlando (Macklin) vs. Houston
Tuesday, July 8 at 3 p.m. – Orlando (Macklin) vs. Memphis (Wilbekin)
Thursday, July 10 at 5 p.m. – Orlando (Macklin) vs. Boston
Thursday, July 10 at 7 p.m. – Memphis (Wilbekin) vs. Houston

2 » Though concussion issues cut short his rookie season, tight end Jordan Reed continues to draw praise from members of the Washington football team. Quarterback Robert Griffin III told FOXSports.com this week that he is thrilled with how well Reed played during workouts this offseason. “I think he’s one of the most talented tight ends in the league,” he said. “He’ll have an opportunity to show that. He’s a guy that runs some of the best routes I’ve ever seen. … If he knows what he’s doing, where he’s going and he knows how he’s trying to get there, you can’t cover him. That’s a good asset to have. … You want to throw it to a guy that’s going to catch it every time. You want to throw it to a guy who is going to secure that catch.”

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Wilbekin, Macklin, Reed, Beal, Miller

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Erik Murphy – Path to 2013 NBA Draft: Workouts

Through the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27, former Florida Gators forward Erik Murphy, the team’s leading three-point shooter last season (.453), will be keeping you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft via a weekly blog entry here on OGGOA.

In the middle of a week that has him working out with four different teams, Murphy got in touch with OGGOA to discuss his first four workouts and the experience he had at a Pro Day hosted by Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, NV, from May 30-31.

Just one day after my last entry, on May 25, I flew out to visit with the San Antonio Spurs. My workout with the team was scheduled for May 26, so the day I got in I just went to the gym to get some shots up and grabbed dinner. Some of the other players I was there with, we ended up watching San Antonio play Memphis that night while still at the facility. The Spurs won 104-93 in overtime, so everyone was in a good mood.

The next morning, I got up around 8 a.m., showered and ate breakfast and then went straight into an interview with members of the scouting department. Next was some on-court testing, which was a nice warm-up for the workout that started around 10:30 a.m. There were shooting drills, three-on-three play and then more shooting and skill drills. It was definitely a good day overall, and the workout went well for me.

Andy [Miller], my agent, got some great feedback from San Antonio and president R.C. Buford, who was there to see my workout.

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FOUR BITS: Noah, Thompson, Murphy, moose

1 » Here is Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah dancing outdoors at a house party.

2 » The Baltimore Ravens are searching for a new No. 2 receiver, and it appears as if former Florida Gators pass catcher Denote Thompson “has the inside track” on the job, according to The Baltimore Sun. “[Thompson] could sneak in there, he looks different, is fast and catches everything,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “I’ve always said, the best player will play.” Thompson thinks his athleticism and speed mean the “sky is the limit” for what he can accomplish with the Ravens. He also discussed why he struggled with the Gators and how things have changed for him. “We had a new offensive coordinator and new coaches at Florida my last year and the whole offense didn’t play well,” he said. “We were just trying to find a rhythm. But here, I think I have adjusted and I can play outside or in the slot, it doesn’t matter. A year ago, I didn’t know what to expect, but now I know what it is going to take. One of the hardest things was learning defenses, the audibles and the different coverages.”

3 » Gators forward Erik Murphy participated in the 2013 NBA Combine late last week. He measured 6’8.75” without shoes, 6’9.5” with shoes and had a 6’10.5” wingspan and 9’0” reach. Murphy also checked in at 239.8 lbs. with eight percent body fat, 8.75” hands and 9.75” hand width. Here are his on the court results: three-quarter time (3.57 seconds), lane agility time (12.19 s), modified time (2.96 s), standing leap (24.5”), maximum leap (29.5”). Murphy will check in with OGGOA later this week with his second “Path to the Draft” blog post to recap the combine, but the Orlando Sentinel reports that he had a one-hour workout with the Orlando Magic last Thursday.

4 » Greg Luca of The Alligator penned this piece back in April on Ron “Moose” Davis, the fan who can always be found behind the basket at Florida basketball games wearing a moose hat and waving a neon Speedo in hopes of distracting opposing foul shooters. Plenty has been written about Davis over the years, but this piece provides great background and a thorough look at one of the Gators’ biggest fans.

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, Smith, Donovan, Kinney

1 » Should quarterback Tim Tebow not find a new home in the NFL if or when the New York Jets finally decide to set him free, one AFL owner has made it abundantly clear that he will always have an opportunity to compete in the arena league. “Tim would certainly want to first exhaust his opportunities in the NFL, but we’d love to have him,” Orlando Predators owner Brett Bouchy told the Orlando Sentinel over the weekend. “I think he would definitely improve as a quarterback in our league. Kurt Warner told me once that when he got back to the NFL after playing in the [AFL], the NFL game was like slow motion. Everything in the [AFL] is just so much faster and quicker and predicated on accuracy. Whenever Tim is willing, we have a contract waiting for him to sign.” It would certainly be an interesting move considering QB Chris Leak is already on the Predators’ roster and “accuracy” is actually Tebow’s biggest red flag.

Yet the question remains…when are the Jets actually going to cut Tebow? The team’s owner and general manager – both of whom are in Phoenix, AZ for the NFL Owners Meeting – said on Sunday that he remains on the team and will be part of the competition at quarterback if he is still on the roster when training camp begins. Considering it is their decision whether or not he remains on the roster, the situation should be clearer than New York has made it. What is likely happening is that the duo is going to make a last-ditch effort to rid themselves of Tebow and get some form of compensation for him by making a trade at the owners meeting for a late-round pick.

2 » To say that former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith is slightly perturbed by the NFL’s newly proposed rule that would penalize rushers for lowering their heads when initiating contact would be an understatement. “If I’m a running back and I’m running into a linebacker, you’re telling me I have to keep my head up so he can take my chin off?” Smith rhetorically asked on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, TX late last week. The rule, which was proposed by the NFL’s Competition Committee but has not yet been passed, will be voted on this week at the owners meeting. Smith thinks the game would change drastically if it is adopted. “As a running back, it’s almost impossible [not to lower your head],” he continued. “The first thing you do is get behind your shoulder pads. That means you’re leaning forward and the first part of contact that’s going to take place is your head, regardless. I disagree with the rule altogether. It doesn’t make any sense for that position. It sounds like it’s been made up by people who have never played the game of football.” The league’s all-time leading rusher probably knows a thing or two about this subject.

3 » Yahoo! Sports’s Eric Adelson penned a fantastic piece about Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan “coming of age.” In the feature, which was published on Thursday, Adelson looks at Donovan coming up in the coaching ranks, his immense success at such a relatively young age, the about-face he did with the Orlando Magic and why chances are he will remain a college coach for the foreseeable future, almost certainly sticking at Florida for the vast majority of what should be a long and storied career (if not until the day he retires).

4 » Former Gators and Tennessee Titans tight end Erron Kinney, who spent six years playing in the NFL before hanging up his cleats, was named the new Fire Chief for Mt. Juliet, TN last Monday. Kinney, who has been working as a firefighter since retiring from football, has served as a Captain at two fire departments and recently completed a seven-year term with the Tennessee State Firefighting Commission (he was appointed by the state’s governor). Now he will be fire chief of an entire town, a role that Mt. Juliet public safety director Andy Garrett believes is well-deserved. “I know that Erron Kinney’s exceptional qualifications and experience make him the best fit for our city,” he said in a statement. “Chief Kinney brings with him well over 20 years of exemplary service in all aspects of fire department management, coupled with his deep roots within the Middle Tennessee community.” Kinney, who was born in Virginia but has spent much of his life in Tennessee, is excited about the opportunity to build a fire department from the ground up. “It is very humbling, an honor, and a privilege to be appointed as Mt. Juliet’s Fire Chief,” he said. “I am excited about working in one of Middle Tennessee’s best cities. I am extremely excited about the opportunities that are ahead for the city’s new fire department.”

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Donovan speaks on Orlando, Noah, Williams, NBA

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan appeared on The Dan LeBatard Show on 790 The Ticket in South Florida on Wednesday and spent 15 minutes on the air discussing a wide variety of topics with host Dan LeBatard, co-host Stugotz and special guest co-host Stan Van Gundy. Below are the topics that the interview touched on and what Donovan had to say about each.

On if he came back to Florida in order to not screw up being happy

“I don’t really think it was about being happy or trying to be happier. The University of Florida has been great to me. It was just one of those things, deep down inside of my gut, that just did not feel right after I did it. I felt terrible going that far down the road. I was very happy that Orlando could get a quality coach like Stan to go in there. There was just something that just did not sit well with me. I can’t put my finger on it. It was just kind of one of those gut feelings.

“Obviously it’s a tough decision when you make the decision and commit to do it and then all of a sudden you retract. I knew in my heart that it just didn’t seem right for me. I don’t know what it was. That’s really what I did. Obviously it was difficult to make that decision when you’re that far down the road.”

On if doing the about-face on Orlando was embarrassing for him

“I think I put Orlando in a very difficult situation. That organization, they’re great people, they treated me very well. For myself to put them in that situation, I felt bad about that. But I was very excited because I know the quality of coach [that] Stan is, I know how respected he is. You look at the job he did in Orlando. At the end of the day, it ended up working out well for both parties. Surely, going through what I went through, embarrassed or felt bad, you just don’t want to put somebody through that. I don’t think Orlando deserved to go through that, and I felt bad about that.”

Read the rest of what Donovan had to say on the air…after the break!
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