Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nick Calathes talks Greece, NBA, Florida Gators

Caught up with the suddenly rich Nick Calathes while he sat in the Sacramento airport, on his way to Houston for another NBA workout. Calathes is playing the system just fine, trying to lock up future NBA money while a two-year, $2.2-million deal with Euroleagueteam Panathinaikos based in Greece awaits.

Don't be surprised if Calathes is playing in the NBA in 2010. He must play at least one year in Greece, but an NBA team can draft him now and pay the $500,000 buyout in time for the 2010-11 season. Calathes' buyout is chump change compared to the $6.6-million right to haveRicky Rubio. In this economy, Calathes' asking price might be more digestible for a player who does a lot of the same things Rubio does. Calathes' combination of court vision (best in the draft), size as a point guard (6-foot-6), shooting (39 percent from 3) and mastery of the pick-and-roll offense merits a first-round pick.

Dallas, which has the No. 22 pick, told Nick before his Greece deal that they intend to select him, according to a source. Calathes said he knew his chances to return to Gainesville were remote once his professional stock began to rise, but he predicts a big future for the Gators in 2009-10.

I think they’ll be great,” Calathes said. “They’ll have (Georgetown transfer) Vernon Macklin, who will be a good inside combination with (Alex) Tyus. Kenny Boynton’s an All-American, and Erving will be ready to run the point. I think Chandler Parsons will have a big year. And Coach (Billy) Donovan’s one of the best country’s best coaches.”

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