Free agent Brewer and his pursuers
Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at 9:17 p.m.
After bouncing around to three different teams in his six-year NBA career, former Florida forward Corey Brewer is looking for the right fit.
A key cog on Florida's back-to-back national title teams, Brewer is an unrestricted free agent after a strong season with the Denver Nuggets. He hasn't ruled out a return to Denver, but is keeping all of his options open.
“I'm just playing it by ear right now, letting my agents do all of the work putting things together,” Brewer said by phone Monday night.
ESPN.com's Mark Stein is reporting the New Orleans Pelicans, Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks as possible teams for Brewer.
“I want to play for a team that has a high-paced offense, just because I like to play fast,” Brewer said. “But whatever team can give me the best opportunity to have a chance to play and win is what I'll try to do.”
With the Hawks, Brewer would be reunited with close friend and fellow 2004 UF classmate Al Horford. The self-coined “Oh-Fours,” which included Brewer, Horford, Joakim Noah and Taurean Green, created unforgettable moments during UF's national title runs in 2006 and 2007.
“I would love to have a chance to play with Al or Jo again, but you never know how things will work out,” Brewer said.
Brewer averaged 12.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists this past season in Denver, while shooting 42.5 percent from the field. It was Brewer's highest-scoring season since 2009-10, when he averaged 13 points per game with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“I had one of my best years this year,” Brewer said. “I'm pretty happy about the situation. I feel like I can get a long-term deal this year. My numbers went up pretty much in all categories. I can only get better. I'm just 27, so I figure I can only get better.”
The season with Denver ended in disappointment when the third-seeded Nuggets were knocked out by sixth-seeded Golden State in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
“It was real tough for us, because we felt like we had a chance to make some noise in the playoffs, make the second round,” Brewer said. “You never know what can happen once the playoffs start. But getting knocked out by Golden State was tough. We had injuries, especially with Gallo (Danilo Gallinari) being hurt, that really hurt us.”
Wherever Brewer winds up, he will continue a trend of Florida big men enjoying success in their NBA careers. Last Thursday, 6-foot-10 forward Erik Murphy was the 11th Gator 6-9 or taller to be taken in the NBA draft since 2003. That list includes the 6-9 Brewer, who credited Florida coach Billy Donovan for the reason why UF bigs have made an NBA impact.
“Coach is great at developing you as an individual player and putting you in a good situation on a team,” Brewer said. “Him and the coaching staff do a great job, we always have good strength and conditioning, so he just develops NBA players.”
Along the way, Brewer hasn't forgotten his time in Gainesville. He'll be hosting his fourth annual Corey Brewer Back-to-Back Basketball Camp at The Rock School in Gainesville from Aug. 8-10. Proceeds from the event will benefit the “Corey Brewer Fight Diabetes Fund,” which provides funds for diabetic patient programs and education at Shands UF.
“It's always good to work with Shands to fund research for diabetes,” Brewer said. “Hopefully one day, there will be a cure.”
Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.