A year ago, two-time NCAA champion and former Gator great Al Horford made headlines when he signed a four-year, $113 million contract with the Boston Celtics. The deal played a huge role in shaking up the NBA’s landscape, as Horford helped the Celtics emerge as a championship contender in the Eastern Conference.
This summer, there are once again several Gators on the open market waiting to make a splash in NBA free agency. Here are the five most likely to do so.
Lee brought a much-needed power presence to San Antonio last year following the loss of fellow big man David West. In his 12th season in the league, Lee made 10 starts in 79 games while averaging 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds. He also shot an efficient 59 percent from the field. Expect him to latch on to another contender and once again make a deep run in the playoffs.
Speights is a veteran big man who has developed a reliable three-point shot in recent seasons. 2017-2018 will be his 10th year in the league, and he is faced with the choice of returning to the Clippers to play behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, or to look for a starting role elsewhere before that window closes.
All the current players on UF’s men’s basketball team were in middle school when Udonis Haslem won his first NBA title in 2006. Haslem has spent his entire 14-year career in Miami. In recent seasons the power forward has seen less playing time, coming off the bench in just 53 games over the past since 2015. After winning three rings over one and a half decades in South Beach, Haslem might be content to ride out his twilight years in the same place he started.
Robinson, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound small forward has found a spot on Washington’s Summer League team after going undrafted last month. He must gain weight if he wants to earn a roster spot, but the athletic 22-year-old could find his niche as a ‘Three and D’ type player. Should the Wizards pick him up, he would play with former Gator Bradley Beal. Robinson finished third on UF in points and second in rebounds and blocks in 2016-2017.
The son of NBA great Rick Barry, Canyon made national headlines as a Gator for his underhand free-throw technique, tying KeVaughn Allen for first on the team with an 88.3 free throw percentage. Barry is a good shooter, but like Robinson, he went undrafted. He is currently playing for New York in the Summer League. If the Knicks decide to sign him, he would be playing alongside center Joakim Noah—a teammate of Horford’s during Florida’s back-to-back championship runs.
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