The Miami Heat in general, president Pat Riley in particular, have designs on being a stronger and deeper team in defense of their championship next season. Riley, who already convinced three-point specialist Ray Allen to take less money from Boston to come to Miami, now has done the same with forward Rashard Lewis.
Coming off an injury-plagued, miserable season with the lowly Washington Wizards, Lewis has agreed to a two-year, $2.8 million deal with the Heat, sources told ESPN.com.
Lewis had other suitors and might’ve been able to get a more lucrative offer elsewhere but was sold on a role with the defending champions after meeting with Riley on Sunday in Miami.
Agent Tony Dutt said the free agent forward and the Heat agreed to terms, and Lewis is expected to sign his contract today in Miami. Lewis’ decision comes just four days after Allen bolted the Boston Celtics and agreed to join Miami.
Lewis became the Heat’s top priority when free agent center Marcus Camby agreed to a sign-and-trade to go to the New York Knicks.
Lewis recently agreed to a $13.7 million buyout from the New Orleans Hornets after they traded for him last month. The 6-foot-10 shooting specialist and former All-Star averaged 7.8 points in just 28 games for the Wizards last season after being bothered by a right knee injury.
Allen and Lewis were Seattle teammates for five seasons, from 2003 through 2007 — and both figure to fit perfectly into Miami’s plan to surround LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Boss with even more shooters who can stretch defenses.
Allen’s 2,718 made 3-pointers are the most in NBA history, and Lewis ranks fifth among active players with 1,690 makes from beyond the arc.
Allen and Lewis are both likely to be introduced by the Heat today, once procedural matters like physicals and paperwork are completed. Teams could start signing their free agents when the league’s moratorium officially ended at 12:01 a.m. today.
Slowed by left knee problems this past season, Lewis averaged 7.8 points in 28 games for Washington. For his career, he’s averaged 16.1 points per game with Seattle, Orlando and Washington.