GAINESVILLE -- The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted former Florida point guard Nick Calathes in the second round (45th overall) on Friday night with the team's fifth pick. Later Friday night, Calathes was traded to the Dallas Mavericks for a second-round 2010 draft pick and cash.
Calathes was one of five guards selected by the Timberwolves, which drafted Spanish guard Ricky Rubio fifth overall. Minnesota drafted former Syracuse guard Jonny Flynn sixth overall. While the Mavericks now hold the rights to sign Calathes to an NBA contract, it's unlikely the former Gators all-time single-season assists leader will play for the Mavs next season, if ever.
Calathes has already signed a two-year deal with Panathinaikos of Athens. The contract guarantees him $1.1 million per year with an option for a third season if Calathes stays in Europe rather than return to the U.S. Because Calathes was selected in the NBA's second round, where nothing is guaranteed, he could return to the U.S. in two years and negotiate an unrestricted free agent contract.
Where does all this news leave the Gators? Still searching for a point guard to replace Calathes, that's where. Florida had hoped to sign late commitment Lamont Jones before the fall semester but Jones recently committed to Arizona, according to reports.
That Florida has failed to land a point guard since Calathes' departure from the team is baffling. For now, the fate of the team's backcourt is in the small but skillful hands of sophomore guard Erving Walker.