Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Rashard to the Magic -- For the Max

Rashard Lewis gets the max. Is that right? Would you pay him the max? Is he worth it?

The issue is not always how good the player is but rather how the team's salary structure is and where the player fits. I believe if you have two max contract players you better be ready to be in the conference semi-finals each and every year. The Magic will have Howard and Lewis as their max contract players. I am not convinced that makes them a Conference semi-finalist. from that standpoint I wonder if this was the right move by the Magic.

On the other hand, Lewis will be a great help to Howard. The Magic offense last season was putrid, ranking 23rd in the NBA. This was largely because everything revolved around Howard and he isn't ready for that burden yet. Lewis will assist him greatly. His ability to handle to ball allows him to do everything offensively from running the pick and roll, to isolation or creating his own shot.

Howard struggled badly last year when he was double teamed. Lewis will help with that a good deal.

From a Sonics standpoint maybe Rashard was worth the max. With Allen out of the picture, Rashard would have been your one max player and with the collective bargaining agreement you wouldn't have to max out Durant for another four seasons. Therefore, inside the salary structure it might have been feasible.

How Lewis, Durant and Green would have all coexisted will never be answered. It is imperative for the future of the Sonics that nothing impedes the progress of Durant.

The other issue is whether or not Rashard is a max player talentwise. Rashard can get you 20 every night and most importantly gets you 20 every night rather than 14 one night and 28 the next. His consistency is what has elevated his game to the elite of the NBA. According to my offensive numbers he is the best offensive small forward in the NBA. That seems like a stretch, but let's see what happens when he is a number 1 option.

On a personal note, I have covered Rashard longer than any athlete I have ever covered in my career. It has been fantastic to watch him grow from the Houston teenager into a man. He will have his first child this off-season and embark upon a new challenge in Orlando. Rashard is a good guy who deserves good things. From day 1 with Dwane Casey and Nate he worked very hard at the craft and it allowed him to reach this day as a max player.

Regardless of whether or not everyone thinks he is a max player.

4 comments:

Jeremy said...

Locke,

I strongly disagree that Lewis is a max type player. In fact, I would say the only max player at SF in the game right now should be LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. That's it.

All the other guys making the max are overpaid. To me, a max contract guy needs to be a franchise player, a guy who is THE guy.

Look at how anxious Phoenix has been to unload Marion, which I would say is probably the next guy. The reason isn't due to his talent. The reason is that their franchise players are Amare Stoudamire and Steve Nash.

In a couple years, Orlando will find getting equal value for Rashard will be impossible if they ever need to trade him.

Congrats Orlando, you just made building a championship team very difficult.

Anonymous said...

rashard to orlando was about keeping dwight howard happy, pushing for arena, overcoming donovangate, otis smith buying time. it might not be enough but it was probably necessary.

John S said...

The fact that Seattle did offer Rashard a contract when they visited him scares me. It was widely known that Rashard and his agent wanted Seattle to make it BEST offer once FA started. Not making an offer shows that the Sonics were not interested in bringing Rashard back.

John S said...

Rashard Lewis is a max type player if he continues to perform like he did in the last 3-4 weeks of the season when he brought the team back in the 4th quarter. If he is not able to dominate like that then no he is not a max player. It will be interesting to see how Rashard handles the spotlight of being the man. I hope he does well, but I don't know if he has the demeanor to singlehandedly take over a game on a consistent basis. It was said that Rashard play his best when he is angry. David, can you tell us how many times last year that Rashard played angry?