Posted by Shaun Powell
BOSTON – Not surprisingly, Rashard Lewis‘ contract has come up for discussion and debate. That tends to happen when a player is perceived to be worth quite a few pennies less than he’s getting.
In Lewis’ case: $118 million. That’s a lot of pennies.
He’s been good for roughly 3 baskets a game in this playoff series with Boston, and while I would try to attach a monetary figure per basket, my mind isn’t that sharp. Let’s just say Lewis could change his jersey number to 118 and folks would know the deal.
Speaking of the deal, here’s how it went down. Lewis was up for free agency in Seattle in the summer of ’07, opting out of a $60 million deal. His final 3 seasons in Seattle, he averaged 20. 5, 20. 1 and 22.4 points per game. He was 6-10 who could play either forward spot and shoot 3-pointers, causing matchup hell for other players. The Sonics were the leader in the clubhouse for his services. But while the Sonics flinched, Lewis shopped. Orlando needed a complimentary scorer for Dwight Howard in the worst way. The Magic took a pass on Vince Carter, coincidently, and decided to blow the Sonics and Lewis away with a monster offer. The contract was indeed massive, but understand, in those better economic days, other players were asking for and getting deals in that ballpark: Stephon Marbury, Kenyon Martin, Gilbert Arenas, to name a few.
Lewis averaged 18.2 his first season in Orlando, and last spring, hit major shots in the post-season. But this season, starting with the suspension for banned substances, has been poor. Lewis’ average slipped to 14.1 and with a few exceptions, he’s been a vapor in the post-season. Suddenly, his flaws are being exposed: He doesn’t go to the basket. He can’t knock down 3-pointers unless he’s wide open. He’s not much of s presence on the glass.
And he’ll make roughly $60 million more on a contract that has 3 more years to run.
Folks still can’t let go of that last part.