Sonics get first shot at courting Lewis

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» Sun Jul 01, 2007 11:38 pm
Sonics get first shot at courting Lewis
By TIM BOOTH, Associated Press Writer
July 1, 2007

SEATTLE (AP) -- Rashard Lewis found out very quickly Sunday just how coveted he is in the NBA free agency marketplace.

Lewis' agent, Tony Dutt, said 20 teams contacted him in some form by late Sunday morning regarding the 6-foot-10 forward, who opted out of the final two years of his contract with the Seattle SuperSonics to become a free agent.

But it was the Sonics -- the only team Lewis has played for -- that got the first chance to meet with Lewis. New general manger Sam Presti led a Seattle contingent that had discussions with Lewis and Dutt early Sunday in Houston.

Presti and his staff presented their plan for the future of the franchise -- an issue brought into question since Thursday's draft when Seattle traded All-Star Ray Allen to Boston, and drafted forwards Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, who appear to play the same position as Lewis.

"We went over all of that," Dutt said. "All I will say is they laid it out very professionally. It was very productive and important for us to sit down with them first."

Dutt said the two sides didn't get into numbers, although Lewis is expected to command a salary in the range of $15 million per season. Seattle has the added advantage of being able to sign Lewis to a six-year contract under the NBA collective bargaining agreement, while other teams can only offer him a five-year deal.

That extra year has brought into play the possibility of a sign-and-trade deal. Dutt said that type of deal could be the best option if Lewis were to leave the Sonics -- maximizing Lewis' contract potential, landing in a preferred situation, but not leaving Seattle empty-handed.

"There are very few people that have the cap room needed," Dutt said of signing Lewis as a free agent. "If he were to leave, we would want to help them get what they want. It's a two-way street."

Dutt hopes to have a deal in place by July 11 when teams can officially sign free agents.

Lewis is coming off his best season, when he averaged career-highs in points (22.4), rebounds (6.6) and assists (2.4).

His age (he turns 28 next month) and his versatility to hit 3-pointers or score on the low block make Lewis a targeted commodity for many teams. Houston general manager Daryl Morey told Houston television station KRIV-TV Saturday night that the Rockets were going to heavily pursue Lewis and try to convince him to return to Houston, where Lewis grew up.

Presti didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Sunday, but after the draft reiterated Seattle's desire to retain Lewis.

"Rashard is another versatile player and I believe with this group he'll have the opportunity to grow even further," Presti said.

Presti did not mention who Seattle's new coach would be during the meeting with Lewis, Dutt said. Seattle is expected to make its decision early in the week. San Antonio assistant P.J. Carlesimo and former Minnesota coach and Seattle assistant Dwane Casey are believed to be the front-runners. Casey and Lewis have an extensive history together from Casey's time as an assistant with the Sonics.

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If the Sonics can get a sign and trade for either a star PF, C or SG, they are a playoff contender for sure. Definately opens things up for them but reckon Rashard will leave for nothing
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» Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:04 am
I think they'll make a sign and trade with someone for a young SG they can develop. Seattle is in full rebuilding mode and keeping Lewis is not gonna help much. The best option for that team is to work a sign and trade with him.
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» Mon Jul 02, 2007 3:34 am
Really think they should package one or two of their Centers and try for a better Center, though don't know what GM would want their garbage. A SG is also a must but looks like Jef Green will be the SG to start off with, though that is out of position for him
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» Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:23 am
They took two natural SF's in the draft. After the Allen trade, it became pretty clear that they won't be keeping Lewis or Allen. They're starting over, building around a new core.

I wouldn't be surprised to see them dish Ridnoir, either.
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» Wed Jul 04, 2007 12:51 am
EDITED;

Woops, gone for two days and the only NBA I knew about was the issue with Fisher.
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» Wed Jul 04, 2007 1:12 am
Yea Fishdig might be going back to the Lakers or to a team in a major city where his daughter can get treatment
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» Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:22 am
I get the Fish opt out since he wanted to be closer to his daughter in New York but if he signs with LA it makes no sense for all parties involved. Utah is closer than LA to NY, what the hell? Also, the Lakers spent their last 2 first rounders on point guards so why sign another one?

I am guessing this is just a rumor started by some wishful LA Timers columnist.
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» Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:42 am
Rashard Lewis just signed a 6 year, 110 million dollar contract!!!!

Better than what was first thought, for Lewis that is
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» Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:43 am
Thunder wrote:I get the Fish opt out since he wanted to be closer to his daughter in New York but if he signs with LA it makes no sense for all parties involved. Utah is closer than LA to NY, what the hell? Also, the Lakers spent their last 2 first rounders on point guards so why sign another one?

I am guessing this is just a rumor started by some wishful LA Timers columnist.

Its not just New York. There are several cities that can treat his daughter's condition... and LA happens to be one of them. Dallas, Cleveland, the Bay, and Miami are also possible. Fisher has no shortage of options.
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» Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:52 am
Honestly, New York would've been the best place to sign if he wanted to get the BEST treatment. The Eastcoast has the best medical treatment in America. Or at least, the best mentoring. (NYU or University of Boston) But LA is also a good place to get help for his daughter. I wish him the best of luck on his search.
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» Fri Jul 13, 2007 2:46 am
Looks like Fishdog will sign with the Lakers
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» Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:59 am
Yep. He probably hasn't even sold his house from his last tenure in LA. It'll be a lot easier for him... although, from a basketball perspective, Fisher is definately not the answer for the Laker's PG problems...
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» Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:02 pm
But Fisher may give them that little bit extra for them. He is no star that's for sure and the Lakers are really up in the air right now with what their immediate future is (whether they keep Kobe is a big part)
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» Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:18 am
If Derek Fisher ends up starting at PG, the Lakers are in trouble. At this stage in his career, Fisher is a backup. A damn good one, but a backup nevertheless.

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