NBA Rumors: Miami Heat Should Sign Rashard Lewis If Not Marcus Camby
The Miami Heat keep winning right into the offseason. The team is reportedly interested (per the Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman) in bringing in Rashard Lewis to give the team another shooter and big body. This is in addition to having already agreed to a contract with Ray Allen and having reported interested in Marcus Camby.
Lewis was let go by the New Orleans Hornets and now becomes an unrestricted free agent free to sign anywhere in the league. Like many veteran free agents, the Miami Heat are an attractive landing spot if money is not the main priority. A fading player like Lewis will have a set role and have a better chance at winning a championship in Miami than anywhere else in the league.
The last few seasons haven't been kind to Lewis as he has only played in 85 games over the last three seasons. In those three seasons—the last two spent with the Washington Wizards, and before then the Orlando Magic—Lewis averaged just 10.4 points per game, down from his career average of 16.1 points per game.
Lewis will receive a $13.8 million buyout from the Hornets this season, so salary for the 2012-2013 season isn't Lewis' biggest priority. The Heat would have to convince Lewis that having a very good chance at winning a championship is worth taking the veteran's minimum and adding that to the buyout.
Marcus Camby—who the team is also reportedly interested in— is probably a better option for the Heat if they can only bring in one of two. Camby fills a bigger hole and gives the Heat a different look than Lewis would by giving the Heat a dominant presence in the paint.
If brought in by the Heat, Lewis would also nicely fill a role as an outside shooter and longer defender. Nearing age 33, Lewis isn't going to be able to give a team a ton of minutes, and he won't have to do that with the Heat.
In the NBA Finals, it was clear how dangerous the Heat became when they were able to knock down open looks outside. In that series against Oklahoma City, it was sharp shooting from Shane Battier, Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers that took care of this. While those players certainly stepped up when it mattered most, they aren't generally reliable shooters—outside of the often-injured Miller.
Lewis shoots 38.8 percent from downtown, which is pretty good, but the impact of having Lewis on the floor is much bigger than that. Whereas with Battier, Chalmers and Miller, a team could adopt the philosophy to make those players beat them and live with the consequences.
With Lewis outside on the wing, teams have to give more respect to his shooting abilities and can't leave him open. Even if he's not knocking down three after three, Lewis will still provide better spacing for the Heat.
If the Heat can add Lewis to their already immensely talented roster, they will have added both Lewis and Ray Allen. That would be quite the improvement over Battier and Miller from last year's championship-winning squad.
A Rashard Lewis to the Heat signing would make a ton of sense for Miami and would certainly make sense for Lewis, as he would make $15 million and have a great shot at a ring.
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