Rashard Lewis joins Miami Heat, reunites with ex-Sonics teammate Ray Allen

07/12/2012 12:01 AM

07/26/2012 8:25 PM

Rashard Lewis broke out a wide smile Wednesday when he explained his vision for the Heat’s offense.

“You’ve got to double-team LeBron James, you have to double-team Dwyane Wade, you’ve got to double-team Chris Bosh,” he said. “Then you think they’re going to leave Ray Allen open? They’ve got to leave somebody open. So I have to go shoot a million jumpers tonight and go knock them down.”

Lewis, who ranks eighth in NBA history with 1,690 three-pointers, was so impressed with the Heat’s presentation Sunday that he said he made his decision in a Miami hotel that night and canceled a Tuesday meeting with Atlanta, which could have paid him considerably more than the two-year, $2.8 million deal he signed with the Heat on Wednesday.

“When Pat Riley is having a conversation with you and talking about winning a championship, he puts you into the conversation, puts you into that lineup,” said Lewis, who will pocket $13.7 million in buyout money from New Orleans next season.

Lewis’ decision pleased not only Riley, but also new Heat teammate Ray Allen, with whom he played five seasons in Seattle (2003-07).

“Ray told me that’s the best news he heard in weeks,” Lewis said. “We’re real close. I know the chemistry is there.”

At 32 and coming off two injury-plagued seasons, Lewis said his focus is squarely on winning a title. He played on an Orlando team that lost to the Lakers in the 2009 Finals.

“I thought this was a perfect fit for what I’m trying to do,” he said. “I’m not looking to re-establish my career and make the All-Star team and score 20 points a night. I want to help the team make the run they’re trying to go on.

“I’m at a point where I’ve been on All-Star teams, played for 14 years, made a pretty good amount of my money. I’m hungry just to win. I will do whatever it takes, [if that’s] coming off the bench, if that’s playing five to 10 minutes or 30 minutes.”

Lewis was limited to 57 games in 2010-11 because of quadriceps tendinitis and 28 games last season (none after the All-Star break) because of tendinitis in his right knee and a bone bruise in his left knee.

“The past “year-and-half in Washington was rough for me,” he said. “I was battered by injuries.”

He said he is now 90 percent healthy: “I feel good. I’ve been working out with a trainer to try to get my body back in top condition.”

Lewis, who has averaged 16.1 points in his career but 7.8 last season, has produced rebounding numbers (5.6 per game) that are modest for a starting player of his size (6-10).

He said he played exclusively small forward in nine years in Seattle, but primarily power forward in 3 1/2 seasons with Orlando.

He likely will play mostly power forward here.

“With the way I shoot, I can open it up a little for [Wade, James and Bosh] in the middle of the paint,” he said.

Coach Erik Spoelstra said his staff gave him 90 minutes of tape of Lewis, “and about 40 percent was from Seattle, so I could see he and Ray together on the court. Rashard is a winner. The more we can become position-less, the more exciting it can be. He really adds a dimension to that.”

With the Heat content using Bosh at center, Riley said, “We’re getting to the point with this team, until the next center comes along who we can throw it to on a regular basis, this is how we’re going to play.”

Moves on hold

With 13 players signed to guaranteed contracts, Riley doesn’t expect any more acquisitions for a while.

“We want to hold right now,” he said. “We have a bunch of eager, young, hungry guys [on the summer-league team]. What we do with those final two spots will be determined by summer league, by what happens late in the summer in free agency.

“We’re not exploring [trades] hard now. We feel very good about our roster,” Riley said.

• Riley said Mike Miller will meet with a doctor this week “and then they’re going to take the second step” in determining whether he needs back surgery.
• When the Heat won the 2006 championship, Riley’s additions that offseason were limited to the likes of Chris Quinn and Robert Hite.

“What we didn’t do back then is add people like Ray or Rashard, or like last year, we added Shane Battier,” Riley said.

“That was my mistake. Sometimes you just want to bring the group back and let the group repeat. You’ve got to keep adding pieces to it.”

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