PARTING THOUGHTS: MUST READ, IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE 2013 SEASON, PLAYERS & TEAM
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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 forward Mike Miller on Tuesday officially inked a two-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he will team up with LeBron James for the second time in his career. The 14-year veteran will earn $5.6 million over the life of the deal, though the second year is a player option that he must exercise the summer before the 2015-16 campaign. Miller has done a great job picking landing spots as of late. During his first nine seasons, Miller's teams won games at a .462 clip; however, over the last four, he's winning them at a .683 rate. The two-time NBA Champion, former Rookie of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year will be playing for his sixth NBA franchise when the 2014-15 season begins.
Although Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons remains as one of the 16 players vying for 12 roster spots on Team USA, USA Basketball on Monday decided to make three cuts, one of which was Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. Beal was a long shot to make the team from the get-go. As well as he shoots the ball, the Americans have better three-point specialists and more versatile defenders competing in camp. Beal's international experience was simply not enough to overtake some of the other players. Parsons, however, looks to be a near lock to make the team as the United States is badly in need of size and players capable of fitting in as stretch fours.
The SEC Network will now be available in more than 91 million households after reaching agreements with DirecTV and Charter Communications. According to ESPN, the SEC Network is "currently slated to be available to eight of the top ten distributors nationwide at launch" with Verizon FIOS the primary carrier still not signed on to add the channel to its lineup. Anyone with access to the SEC Network, except those on DirecTV (which does not have an authentication agreement with ESPN), will also have the ability to view live streaming content online via SECNetwork.com and WatchESPN.com. An ESPN spokesperson confirmed to ITG on Wednesday that users can also access this content via the WatchESPN app on their mobile devices. How the SEC Network will be made available on different providers remains to be seen. Most are expected to carry it in one of their more common packages. It will not be offered as a standalone channel.
On Paradise Island in the Bahamas, Florida basketball will be faced with a great slate of games as part of the 2014 Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Seeing as every team participating is guaranteed to play three games, it is imperative that the Gators win their first game, which is set for Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 9:30 p.m. against Georgetown. UF and GU will square off for the first time since meeting on the deck of the USS Bataan at Navy Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida, a couple of years ago in a game that was not completed due to weather. Should Florida win, its two remaining games will be broadcast nationally on ESPN, though both will be played during the afternoon on weekdays. UF could wind up with a very interesting slate of games with Wisconsin (one of two teams to beat the Gators in 2013-14), Butler (eliminated Florida in the 2011 Elite Eight) and UCLA (often victimized by UF in the NCAA Tournament) all in the field. UF could also face UAB, Oklahoma and North Carolina.
Rounding up the number of former Gators currently injured in NFL training camps across the country is actually a tough task. Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper (foot), Miami Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis (groin) and Dolphins linebacker Jelani Jenkins (knee) are the players currently active with the most serious ailments, though Buffalo Bills LB Brandon Spikes (leg) and Miami running back Mike Gillislee (leg) have also been dinged up. Two former Florida players have already been lost seemingly for the season with Buffalo LB Darin Kitchens first being waived as injured with a leg injury and not subsequently getting picked up by another franchise. New York Jets LB Jermaine Cunningham, who was fighting for a role as a reserve after playing just two games in 2013, suffered a torn Achilles earlier this week and has been ruled out for the whole campaign.