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Monday July 22, 2013Get ready to add Nick Calathes to mounting list of NBA ex-Gators making news

Updated: 4:13pm, July 22

Calathes GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The list of former Gators making news in the NBA keeps growing.

Add point guard Nick Calathes -- out of sight, out of mind and out of the country -- to the mix.

The rights to Calathes, who starred at UF during the 2007-08 and ’08-09 seasons, were traded Monday to the Memphis Grizzlies by way of the Dallas Mavericks, who selected the former Florida playmaker in the second round of the 2009 draft.

The 6-foot-6 Calathes, the two-time Florida “Mr. Basketball” from Winter Park who averaged 16.2 points on 45-percent shooting to go with 5.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists during his UF career, bypassed the NBA to play professionally in Greece and just completed his fourth season overseas.

Now he’s headed for a franchise armed with the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in Marc Gasol and that reached the NBA Western Conference Finals before being swept by the San Antonio Spurs.

According to ESPN.com, Calathes is under contract to a Russian team, Lokomotive Kazan, in 2013-14, but the deal has an NBA opt-out clause. After averaging 12.9 points, 6.7 assists, 5.9 rebounds and garnering MVP honors in the EuroCup, Calathes figured the time was right to make the NBA jump.

Worth noting: Last year’s EuroCup MVP was Patrick Beverley, also an ’09 second-round pick (and former Southeastern Conference star at Arkansas) who started playoff games for the Houston Rockets this postseason.

During the 2012-13 NBA season, Florida coach Billy Donovan had 10 former players in the NBA. Assuming Calathes, now 24, makes the Grizzlies’ roster -- and they probably didn’t trade for him to cut him -- Donovan could have as many as a dozen ex-Gators in the league, provided forward Erik Murphy, a second-round pick by the Chicago Bulls last month, makes his team.

The Calathes and Murphy opportunities come on the heels of Miami Heat tandem Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller, two more former Gators, becoming just the second pair of college teammates to play on back-to-back NBA champions in nearly 50 years and two weeks since Chandler Parsons was credited for his lobbying efforts helping convince Dwight Howard to bolt the Los Angeles Lakers for the Rockets via free agency.

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