11 July 2007

UPDATED: Magic, Sonics Agree on Sign-and-Trade to Send Rashard Lewis to Orlando

ESPN reports in this item (scroll down to "Free-Agent Buzz") that the Orlando Magic and the Seattle SuperSonics have agreed on a sign-and-trade deal which will send Rashard Lewis to Orlando in exchange for as-yet-unrevealed players and a second-round draft selection. This agreement allows Lewis to get the biggest deal possible -- $126.4 million over six years -- while playing for his preferred team. The Magic could only offer him a five-year deal.

More on this story as it develops.

UPDATE - John Denton of Florida Today added the following information about the signing in this report:

The Magic will finalize a contract with Lewis, the most coveted small forward on the free-agent market, today. A news conference will be held this afternoon where the Magic will announce that Lewis has signed a six-year sign-and-trade deal worth a staggering $127.2 million. According to a source close to the negotiations who asked to remain anonymous, Orlando will send a second-round pick back to Seattle as compensation in the sign-and-trade deal.

Lewis, who turns 28 next month, will get a starting salary of $16.8 million next season -- the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement for a player with nine years of NBA experience. From there, he'll get 10.5 percent annual raises and the deal will be worth a whopping $25.6 million in the final season.

I'm no salary-cap expert, but I don't think a maximum-contract player can be traded straight-up for a future second-round draft pick. It'll be interesting to see which players, if any, are shipped out. Here's to hoping that Keyon Dooling isn't one of them.


UPDATE AGAIN: John Denton writes the following via email:

I'm told the Rashard sign-and-trade will be done and the Magic will only be sending back a second-round pick. Apparently, Seattle didn't want the Magic's expiring contracts.
Perhaps this deal is the most lopsided one of all time, then.


nuss said...

A lot of people in Orlando will be furious with this deal, and the national media is roasting you guys for giving Rashard the max, but take it from someone who has watched Lewis for 9 years - the guy is not a bum. He's not worth a max contract, but he's exactly what the Magic need. You can write it in stone that he will average 20+ points per game next season, that he'll get 6 or 7 boards, that he'll hit 35-40% of his 3's, and that he won't play much defense.

But who cares about the defense? As long as the Magic have Howard to clean up Rashard's mess, it's not going to kill them. Nobody complained about Ra's defense when the Sonics nearly beat the Spurs in the playoffs, b/c Seattle had Jerome James to block shots.

The bottom line is there are maybe 10-15 guys in the league who you can carve in stone as far as production and Rashard is one of them. He's overpaid, but at least he'll produce.

Ben Q. Rock said...

I agree with you, Nuss. $118 million is a ton of money to commit to a one-time all-star. Actually, $118 million is a lot of money to commit to anybody. But Lewis' numbers have improved every season he's been in the league, and he's never had a dominant big-man to draw defenders away from him. I think the best of his career is ahead of him.

That said, this team is now HANDCUFFED salary-wise and will have to rely on mid-level exceptions to add role-players in subsequent seasons.

Basically, at that price, anything less than a championship is unacceptable.