The Miami Heat, according to USA Today, are set to add Rashard Lewis to their already star-studded roster. With Lewis and Ray Allen added to the team, the Heat are re-upping and trying to get even better for next season.
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 any salary for the 2012-13 season from the Heat is extra money.
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 (Ray Allen shoots just above 40 percent), 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.
By adding 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.
Lewis provides the Heat with extreme versatility in addition to his three-point shooting abilities due to his size. He can play the 3 and even slide to the 4 if the Heat want to go small.
Just as he did when Ray Allen agreed to sign with the Heat, LeBron James tweeted a welcome to his future teammate:
#HeatNation please welcome our newest member Rashard Lewis to the family— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 10, 2012
The Heat have addressed one of their biggest weaknesses with the signing of Allen and Lewis. They add depth to their bench and got some great shooters to hide in the corners for James and Dwyane Wade to find when they drive to the lane.