Man, Pat Riley really was serious when he said he wanted players who could help stretch and space the floor.
A few days following an agreement that would bring Ray Allen to the Miami Heat, reports are coming in that Rashard Lewis will sign a deal with the team on Wednesday when signings are allowed to be made.
Lewis will reportedly sign for the veteran-minimum, a deal that will net Rashard $1.3 million this upcoming season. The former Washington Wizards forward took the deal after receiving $13.7 million as a result of being bought out by the New Orleans Hornets following a trade a few weeks prior.
Plus, he’s already made over $150 million in his career. He doesn’t need money anymore. By this point, he’s just in it for the championships. Lewis’ closest encounter to a ring came in 2009 when his Orlando Magic were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the NBA Finals.
Since making it to the Finals, Lewis’ stats have significantly decreased. He went from averaging 17.7 points per game and converting 2.8 three-pointers on 40 percent shooting in the 2008-’09 campaign to most recently posting up a mere 7.8 points, while converting 0.6 three-pointers per on 24 percent shooting.
Lewis only played 28 games last year with the Wizards due to an injured right knee. It appears that Lewis is fine now after undergoing a successful physical with the team.
Either way, it’s a low-risk and high-reward situation for the Heat. They’re only investing $1.3 million in Lewis, so even if he pans out there won’t be too much backlash. If he can shoot better than 35 percent from deep and contribute seven or eight points per game, however, the Heat come out looking like the champions they have become when it comes to pursuing free agents.
Although he’s 6’10”, Lewis won’t be solving any of the Heat’s concerns down low and should be relegated to mostly playing at the three or four. He only adds to the depth at those positions and should end up sharing time off the bench with Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier.
Mike Miller’s status is still up in the air. Riley signed Lewis for the purpose of finding players capable of replacing the oft-injured shooter if he does end up sitting out the entire season.
He signed Ray Allen and that was thought to be enough; signing Lewis is just overkill by this point. The Heat are going to end up having one of the league’s best offenses because of their ability to produce from inside and out. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade’s ability to influence defenders into double-teaming them will be key for players such as Allen and Lewis to thrive.
It showed in the Heat’s Game 5 victory over the Thunder. James had nine assists on the Heat’s 14 three-pointers in that game. Miami has been consistently capable of those types of games, but haven’t been able to have any due to the inconsistencies of the shooters.
Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and James Jones have been all over the place in their tenure’s with the Heat. It’s hurt the team too, because those guys are always getting left open along the perimeter. Opposing teams are daring the Heat role players to beat them and most of the time, it just ends up being the ‘Big Three’ willing their team to victory.
With Ray Allen on the team, defenders are going to have no choice but to put a body on him, or risk giving up a three-pointer to the best three-point shooter to ever play the game.
Rashard Lewis is just a bonus. We’re not sure how well he’s going to play, but it can’t be much worse than last year. He’s going to have plenty of time to recover from his knee injury and should end up receiving 20 minutes off the bench per night. In fact, he may end up in the lineups at the end of the first when Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh hit the bench.
If that’s so, Lewis will be in a lineup with LeBron James and his former Seattle Supersonics teammate, Ray Allen. Lewis and Allen played together on Seattle from 2002 to 2007, where they would combine to score nearly 50 combined points per game in their final season together.
They’re not going to be combining for 50 points anytime soon, but they will be playing key roles on a championship-bound team.
Lewis will be expected to catch, shoot, and make three-pointers, as well as grabbing whatever rebound comes his way, and not much else. He’s 33-years-old and is coming off the worst year of his career; the Heat aren’t trying to stress anything and will acclimate Rashard into the rotation.
Put Lewis on one side of the court, have Allen on the other and have LeBron James or Dwyane Wade facilitating and you have quite the formidable team.
The Heat are absolutely stacked. It was only two years ago where their top contributors of the bench were James Jones, Eddie House and Juwan Howard. Nowadays, it’s Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, Norris Cole, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. They’ve vastly improved their bench and their perimeter shooting, two key concerns that were heralded throughout the 2010-’11 campaign.
Miami now has two spots left on its roster with funds running extremely low. Raja Bell has shown interest and shouldn’t come at much more than $1 million and the Heat could possibly add on either Terrel Harris, Jarvis Varnado or their most recent draft pick in Justin Hamilton.
The real question, however, is if it really matters when you look at the team already.