$18 million for your fourth offensive option

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nba_lewis[1].jpgOffense option number one for the Orlando Magic — throw it to the best center on the planet. Option two, Vince Carter. Option three: Jameer Nelson (options two and three can switch, depending on matchups and time of the game).

Option number four: Rashard Lewis. The guy making a team high $18.7 million this year (and more than $20 million for the following three). That is a lot of green for a guy getting 10 shots a game, ones other players create for him. The reason Lewis has fallen down the pecking order is his once feared shot (remember him with Seattle, it was pure) has gone on walkabout. He is shooting 32% from three in the last 10 Magic games, just 40% overall.

If your role in the offense is to pull an opposing big out to the three-point line to guard you, then making that shot is imperative. FanHouse has the money quote.

“Rashard is just not playing well right now. It’s not just the shooting. He’s not rebounding the ball. He’s just not playing with much energy,” said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. “He’s turning the ball over. He’s not making the shots he’s taking. I have confidence he’ll bounce back, but right now he’s not playing well.”

Well, that’s pretty damning.

And Rashard Lewis is… fine with that.

“I’m comfortable in the offense now. Our first option is Dwight (Howard). Vince and Jameer have been playing great. As we get closer to the playoffs, I’ll have to get myself more involved. If plays aren’t called (for me), I better find ways to contribute more. It would have helped tonight (in the loss to the Bobcats)…

“There is no frustration when you’re winning,” he said. “If you win, you don’t worry. I’m not getting as many shots, but it doesn’t matter now. If you lose, that’s when there is going to be frustration, that’s when you need to look at yourself in the mirror.”

Lewis is the link teams will try to exploit in the playoffs now. He’ll be given his shot until he makes the opponent pay. They will go at him on defense. On one of the best rosters in the NBA, he is now the target.

We’ll see how fine with that he becomes. We’ll see how frustrating that gets — especially after a couple of losses.

Dwyane Wade sinks halfcourt buzzer-beater (video)

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Dwyane Wade is secure in his legacy. He’s an all-time great, and an extra missed 3-pointer during his farewell tour won’t change anything. (It doesn’t hurt that his resumé already includes subpar 3-point shooting.)

So, when many players would hold the ball, Wade heaved in a halfcourt shot to end the third quarter of the Heat’s 110-105 win over the Spurs on Wednesday. It wasn’t the biggest shot of Wade’s season, but it still mattered plenty.

Miami’s lead when San Antonio began intentionally fouling late? Three.

Jonas Valanciunas hits game-winning free throw, spoils James Harden’s 57-point night (video)

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The Grizzlies blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter and a five-point lead in the final 30 seconds of overtime. James Harden scored 57 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter and all 10 of the Rockets points in overtime.

But Jonas Valanciunas saved Memphis from total collapse. He drew a foul on his putback and hit the game-winning free-throw with 0.1 seconds left to give the Grizzlies a 126-125 win Wednesday.

Report: Suns exploring signing Jimmer Fredette

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Jimmer Fredette remains a fascination because he scored a ton at BYU eight years ago and… other reasons.

He has been lighting it up in China, and his season there just ended. Now, the former No. 10 pick could return to the NBA after three years away.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Phoenix still needs another point guard, and the 6-foot-2 Fredette looks like one. But he hasn’t shown the playmaking to play point guard regularly. He’s better, and sometimes even effective, off the ball.

Fredette could have stuck in the NBA with a different attitude. His long-distance shooting was an asset.

But he’s also now 30 years old. A new approach likely won’t be enough. His shortcomings, particularly defensively, will be even more pronounced as his athleticism has declined.

The Suns are bad and will remain bad, with or without Fredette. But their younger players have shown signs of progress lately. Fredette’s high-usage style could interfere with their development.

It’s hard to see the upside here other than a brief uptick in attention.

Marcus Smart shoves down Joel Embiid from behind, gets ejected (video)

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Marcus Smart recently bemoaned the lack of physicality in the NBA.

After Joel Embiid dropped his shoulder into him on a screen, Smart brought some to tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.

Smart shoved Embiid in the back, sending the center to the floor. A cheap shot? Yes. Embiid wasn’t looking. But Smart would surely argue Embiid started it. I also doubt Smart intended to push Embiid from behind. Smart just wanted to get at Embiid as quickly as possible, and Embiid happened to be facing the other way when Smart arrived.

Smart got a flagrant 2 and the accompanying ejection. Embiid received a technical foul.