UF star Nick Calathes will bypass NBA to play in Greece

Joined Jun 10, 2004
[h1]UF star Nick Calathes will bypass NBA to play in Greece[/h1] [h2]Gators point guard agrees to terms with elite Euroleague champion Panathinaikos[/h2] Chris Harry | Sentinel Staff Writer 3:39 PM EDT, May 23, 2009
University of Florida standout point guard Nick Calathes is going pro.

But not to the NBA.

Calathes, the state's two-time "Mr. Basketball" from Lake Howell, agreed to terms Friday to play for powerful Panathinaikos, the reigning Euroleague Basketball champion club based in Greece, according to sources close to the former Gators playmaker.

Neither Calathes nor his family would comment on the development, pending announcements from Panathinaikos and UF. Gators Coach Coach Billy Donovan apparently was informed of his player's decision Friday night, with at least one source saying a contract was signed.

The deal, sources said, will pay Calathes around $1.1 million per year, in addition to providing him with a home, car and tax credits, making for a total package commensurate to what the NBA rookie salary scale provides a late-lottery selection. Golden's State forward Anthony Randolph, the final lottery pick of 2008 at No. 14, made $1.424 million as a rookie.

With his Greek heritage and dual citizenship, Calathes figures to be a popular figure in Athens. In addition to joining arguably the world's most elite overseas franchise, there should be endorsement opportunities aplenty, and the built-in honor to represent his country in international competition. Last summer, he played for the Greek National Team during the FIBA Europe Under-20 championships.

The move also will put Calathes closer to his older brother, Pat, the former St. Joseph's standout who plays for Maroussi, another Greek team in the Euroleague.

Panathinaikos (also known as PAO) has won 29 Greek national championships, five Euroleague titles and in 2007 became the first Greek club to play exhibition games against NBA teams. The list of past players to suit up for Panathinaikos includes Dominque Wilkins, Byron Scott, Antonio Davis, Tony Delk and John Salley.

Calathes, who averaged 17.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and led the Southeastern Conference with 6.2 assists per game as a sophomore last season, applied for early entry into the NBA draft, but held off from hiring a agent in the event he changed his mind and opted to return school.

Draft analysts projected the 6-foot-5, 185-pounder to go late in the first round, though Dallas, picking 22nd, was believed to be very interested after hosting the first-team All- SEC selection for a workout last week.

NBA teams still may select Calathes in the June 25 draft and would retain his future rights. The contract with Panathinaikos is believed to have a buyout option, as well.

Calathes, 20, is the latest to join the trend of American players taking their games overseas. Josh Childress, the former first-round pick of the Atlanta Hawks, last year signed a three-year, $32.5 million deal with Olympiakos, the team currently battling Panathinaikos in the Greek national championship series. Jennaro Pargo, a six-year NBA veteran, also signed with Olympiakos last year.

Brandon Jennings, the Compton, Calif., national high school player of the year in 2008, bypassed playing in college for a $2 million contract from Pallacanestro Virtus Roma in the Italian League, while another California superstar _ 6-11 Jeremy Tyler _ announced in April he plans to forgo his senior year of high school to play in Europe.
Joined Mar 14, 2005
I was reading about this a few years ago.

I mean if you're not a guaranteed 1st rounder and might not get that guaranteed $ why not.

Getting 1.1 per year
plus Car & Home
Joined Feb 28, 2007
how is it funny? that's a great move IMO.

even if he did get drafted in the first, he wouldn't have remained in the NBA for very long.

i would rather play for my home country and get treated like a King, while getting paid of course. Greece is beautiful, btw.

props to Calathes
Joined Mar 13, 2004
There was no guarantee of him going round 1...this was a VERY smart move on his part...1.1 mil, tax credits, and EVERYTHING paid for???!!!!???? That's ahell of a deal. If he does well, he can always try for the NBA at a later time and cash in like Sarunas Jasekevicas....(I know I butchered the spelling)...


Joined Feb 7, 2008
I think he should've at least given it a try in the NBA though...I mean it says Dallas at #22 was really interested in him.

And if it didn't work out I hear that even if you have minuscule experience in the NBA they'll payyou big bucks.

I understand the choice...but I think he should've at least tried his luck in the NBA first and if it didn't work out then go overseas. He had a pretty good list of reasons to go right now though.
Joined May 29, 2008
nick making this move actually does seem quite sensible. for one, he holds dual citizenship and the dude could have a honest love for living and play inGreece. if thats the case, doing that and getting paid the same equivalent money is a win-win situation for him.
Joined Nov 22, 2006
I think he should have at least waited till the Draft. If he didn't like where he was pick or going, he could've signed the deal. Not much harm inwaiting an extra month.
Joined Mar 14, 2005
Originally Posted by henz0

I didnt even know he left UF.. I was hoping he'd stay around
For what. They were done running #!%* after 07. You know damn well he ain't never gonna get love at that school. Son was ballin too, he put up All-American#'s they just sucked so bad and played in the SEC nobody cared. He's gonna be living the life

big j 33

Joined May 31, 2006
Damn, Nick went to the high school down the street from me and some of my friends are pretty close to him.

Interesting move on his part.
Joined Jun 25, 2008

That's a bold move.
The overseas situation can be great but there are some people who just aren't built for it .. I know I wouldn't be.

I guess him and his bro are close.
Joined May 30, 2006
Originally Posted by High Class Scum Bag

playing overseas w/ all the tax benefits and possibly being a star >>>>> sitting the bench in the NBA and getting taxed heavily
As a US citizen, he still pays taxes on that $$$... Some of it is excluded and there are benefits, but he's still gonna owe the US governmenttaxes on that contract...

Either way, it's a good move because he'll probably be making more money and have a better chance to succeed overseas than he would have in the NBA...Get paid now. If you go over there and pay at a high level, the NBA will be here...

If he comes back over, does he still have to go back through the draft? Or can he go through the draft now, elect to sign overseas, and make himself a FA whenhe comes back over?
Joined Aug 8, 2006
Yea but the contract states that he can opt out if he's selected by a team in the draft that he wants to join...so it's pretty much a win/win...
Joined Aug 14, 2005
Dude was working out at my gym last week and everybody was talking about it, but I didnt think he would commit this early
Joined Apr 6, 2005
calathes could have been effective in the nba with some more experience and some more poundage on his frame.

put up arguably the best statline of any guard in the nation last season, 18, 6, and 6.
Joined Jan 13, 2001
I think it's a pretty smart move.. for one, it's guaranteed money with a good franchise.. who cares what league/country? Not like it's some thirdworld place that's all shady or something.

Secondly - it's not like he's stuck here forever.. plenty of guys do this the opposite way, get drafted way low, waste good years of their playingprime on the bench or DL's getting paid very little, only to fall back on euro leagues for less money eventually.

Instead - he's got big money up front, and we all know how the NBA hype machine makes foreign players out to be gods (see: rubio, mills), so if he doeswell i'm sure some NBA teams will be willling to pay him a pretty penny later on for a shot with the league later down the road.

I like it.
Joined Sep 1, 2004
my problem with this is why not wait till after workouts and the draft to see where u go? in a weak year one workout can raise your stock BIG TIME

money wise say he got picked at 22 its proably the same type of money
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