Friday, June 01, 2007

And Here We Go Again

So is this why the Cats couldn't lure Billy D up from Gainesville two months ago?

Did he have the league in mind all along?

Or was the cash just piled too high to finally turn down?

My money's on the latter. Not that I have $5.5 mil a year to pile up for 5 years. Eddie Munster's got that.

In any case, the Orlando Magic reportedly gave him 27.5 million reasons to reconsider his dedication to a team which had just lost its top six players.

What is unknown is how much consideration he gave to the many good reasons to avoid the jump. Reasons named Rick Pitino, John Calipari, Mike Montgomery, Lon Kruger, Tim Floyd, Leonard Hamilton ... even Steve Spurrier.

Now the difference may be that Donovan inherits a much better team than any of those guys did. In most of those cases, the teams they went to were legitimately awful (legendarily bad in the case of the Bulls team that Tim Floyd bounced to). Dwight Howard, for one, is a legitimate franchise player, something none of the others enjoyed (among the many things that Rick Pitino did not understand about the NBA, Tim Duncan was by no means a lock to wear the green in 1997).

They were in fact a playoff team this year, albeit clearly the worst playoff team in the league ... quite possibly one of the least imposing playoff teams ever. Plus they will finally now be out from under Grant Hill's enormous contract, which will allow The new Kid some free agent signing opportunities.

So as these things go, the Magic right now is probably the best NBA opportunity Donovan was likely to see. And maybe he figured where is there to go from the top of the heap he had been standing on? Would he ever win back-to-back ... to back in Gainesville?


So jump from the top of the heap to the pile of cash now, and when it goes south in a couple (or even a few) years, he'll have his pick of college openings to walk back into.

Of course as Slick Rick could tell him, he will be walking back into a different situation. But even Florida 2007 is not on nearly the same level of cruise control as Kentucky 1997. Pitino walked away from annual title contention. Billy walked away from what will always be a football school.


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