Rashard Lewis has become the standard punchline for any joke about bad long-term contracts. He was paid back when he was an elite scorer in Seattle (you know, back when Seattle had a team), then was converted in the Magic system to be their perimeter trigger. He stopped working in the post or on the drive and was primarily used as only a spot-up shooter, and last season his huge deal was swapped for Gilbert Arenas’ huge deal (Lewis is still with the Wizards).
Hoopsworld caught up with Lewis in Las Vegas at the Impact Basketball events this week and Lewis says he’s working to get back to being a true versatile weapon.
“I’m trying to get away from being just a spot-up shooter,” Lewis told HOOPSWORLD. “My whole goal is to get back to attacking the basket, posting up and being a small forward like I was in Seattle. I’m not complaining about being a spot-up shooter in Orlando because it was great and I’ll do anything for the team to help win games. That’s how we won ball games, by spreading the floor and having Dwight [Howard] inside. Now, for me, I have to get back to being aggressive and attacking the basket as well as shooting the three.”
via NBA Saturday: Telfair Excited For Free Agency | HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors.
Lewis is 32 and has battled a myriad of injuries the last few years. So his ability to work in the post is questionable at best, much less work from the perimeter on drives. Still, with the extra time off from the lockout, it’s possible Lewis could surprise in Washington. Even if he can provide anything, he’ll still get comments about his contract. But as Lewis told J.A. Adande, it’s not like the players negotiate those contracts. The fact that Lewis is engaged, working out, talking about being a leader and trying to contribute says a lot about his character. He’s not just coasting out the rest of his career, even if he is overpaid.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.