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July 1, 2013
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week Orange & Blue News will keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Gators players made their fair share of headlines during the 2012-13 NBA season, but some of Florida's past basketball standouts are also hot names now that the 2013-14 league year has officially begun. Over the weekend, Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that center Marreese Speights declined his player option with the Cleveland Cavaliers, giving up $4.515 million for next season in hopes of earning a longer-term deal from what will be his fourth team in six NBA seasons. Speights averaged 10.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game with Cleveland, mostly coming off the bench for the Cavaliers after being traded to the team on Jan. 22. Also currently testing the free agent waters is forward Corey Brewer, who averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals for the Denver Nuggets last season. Brewer is meeting with the Houston Rockets early in the week, per the Houston Chronicle, but will likely hold discussions with a number of teams before deciding where to continue his career.
And just in case you thought one of the best players in the league last season was safe from being moved, this is a reminder that everyone in the NBA can be expendable under the right circumstances. Wojnarowski reported early Monday that the Golden State Warriors have put power forward David Lee on the trading block as the team is interested in ridding itself of the three years and $44 million left on his maximum contract. Lee, who nearly posted a 20-10 season by averaging 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, received the second NBA All-Star nod of his career this season. Golden State does like Lee and would not mind him remaining on the team, but the Warriors do have interest in seeing what he could fetch as part of a deal. Also potentially on the move, though not really, is point guard Nick Calathes, who is currently signed by Lokomotiv Kuban of Russia. The Dallas Mavericks, which selected Calathes with a second-round pick in 2009, currently hold his NBA rights and will likely be moving him to another team after coming to a long-term agreement with an Israeli point guard on Monday.
Three Florida swimmers will represent the United States as USA Swimming competes at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, from July 19-August 4. Rising senior Elizabeth Beisel (200 IM, 400 IM), Conor Dwyer (200 Free, 200 IM) and Ryan Lochte (200 Free, 200 Back, 100 Fly, 200 IM, 4x100 Free Relay) all advanced in their respective events during the U.S. National Championships last week. Beisel finished second in both of her races, while Lochte won three national titles (200 Free, 200 Back, 200 IM). Lochte is currently the world record holder in the 200 IM as he set the mark of 1:54.00 at the FINA World Championships back in 2011.
One aspect of the arrest of former Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez on charges of first-degree murder is whether he will be able to receive a fair trial, which he has a right to according to the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, in Massachusetts. Due to the Hernandez investigation making headlines - even over the simultaneous prosecutions of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and well-known mobster James "Whitey" Bulger - in the same state, Sports Illustrated's Michael McCann believes his defense attorneys will likely claim that being tried elsewhere will be the only way Hernandez can have a legitimate chance to prove his innocence. Check out this story for a more in-depth look at the situation.
Can Hernandez receive a fair trial?
Relevancy is important for the NFL, so in an effort to keep its name in the news during the slowest portion of the offseason, the league (via the NFL Network) has been counting down its top 100 players over the last few weeks. With all 100 players now officially announced, here is where the former Florida players stand on the list: Hernandez (77), Percy Harvin (90). With Hernandez out of the league at this time, that leaves Harvin as the only former Gators player believed to be a top-tier NFL talent. It should be noted that very, very few offensive linemen made this list. With nearly 1,700 players active in the league each season (after final cuts), Harvin is one of 40 representing Florida (counting Janoris Jenkins) currently on rosters at this time.
Secondary and recruiting being two of the Gators football team's strong suits, it makes sense that the man leading the charge for Florida in both areas (not counting head coach Will Muschamp, of course) would be deserving of a raise for doing a great job over the last two seasons. Defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson has received a $60,000 raise for the 2013 season and will now earn $290,000 after being paid $230,000 both in 2011 and 2012. A tireless recruiter who is at least partially responsible for some of the Gators' biggest gets over the last few years, Robinson is also seen by Muschamp and the staff as one of the top up-and-coming coaches in the game. Though he did get a raise, Robinson did not ink a multi-year deal with Florida. The Gators usually sign most of their assistants to one-year renewable contracts.