02 July 2007

UPDATED: WKMG: Rashard Lewis Will Sign With Orlando for 5 Years, $75 Million

Rashard Lewis shoots over fellow free-agent Gerald Wallace in a game from the 2006/2007 season. If Orlando's WKMG-TV can be believed, Lewis will be targeting baskets in Orlando next season.
Photo by Robert Padgett, Reuters

None of the major news outlets have reported this news yet, but it's a doozy:

Rashard Lewis is coming to Orlando.

RealGM.com quotes WKMG, a news station based here in Orlando, as reporting that Lewis will sign with the Magic on July 11th. His deal is reportedly worth $75 M over five seasons. The item also says that the Magic will allow Darko Milicic to become an unrestricted free agent.

UPDATE: Although the RealGM link is still active, there's nothing to be found about the Lewis signing on WKMG's website, which certainly calls into question the legitimacy of the report.

If this news is indeed true, I have to say I'm disappointed. How can I be so let down when the top player on my free-agency wishlist is apparently coming to Orlando? Because Otis Smith has been telling Magic fans for months that re-signing Darko would be the Magic's top priority. Now, it appears as though that wasn't the truth after all. If the Magic were truly intent on retaining Darko, they would have tried to find a way to clear more salary-cap room, which would have enabled them to both re-sign Darko and sign a big-name free agent. Would it really have been that difficult to find a suitor for Hedo Turkoglu? Trading him would have cleared an additional $5 M in cap space, which certainly would have helped keep the Dwight/Darko/Free-Agent-to-be-Named-Later vision of the future intact.

Again, this news is not official by any means, but if it is, I'm not exactly thrilled. I feel like I've been lied to, and that's not something I take to kindly.


Ty Keenan said...

Doesn't this make the Magic a threat to win a playoff series in that crappy conference? Or am I just completely overrating Howard? Or underrating Darko?

Ben Q. Rock said...

To win a playoff series? Absolutely. To win the conference? Not so much. We still have glaring holes at power forward and shooting guard. Once we address those, we should be contenders. I don't think that's too hyperbolic.

Ty Keenan said...

I guess I didn't see any situation in which the team could stay under the cap and get all those pieces, so winning a series would be a logical expectation with that team. You obviously know more about it than me; is there any way?

Ben Q. Rock said...

If the Magic are able to work a sign-and-trade for Darko, they might be able to get a halfway-decent PF. Tony Battie just ain't cuttin' it. We may be able to shore up the shooting-guard problem if J.J. plays well. If Grant Hill stays, then it isn't as big a problem.

I'll predict 45 wins for this team. They could play most other East teams evenly, so they could win a playoff series as well. It's really hard to say without knowing the opening-day roster.