NBA@2: Allen, Lewis Reunite in Miami
Shortly after Ray Allen agreed to join the Miami HEAT, he reached out Rashard Lewis.
Allen and Lewis spent five years together on the Seattle SuperSonics and remain very close. Allen was hoping to recruit Lewis to Miami so he sent him a text message asking if he was considering the HEAT. Little did he know, Lewis had already decided to join the team and he was in Miami finalizing his deal.
“I’ll see you when you get into town,” Lewis texted.
“That’s the best news I’ve heard in weeks,” Allen responded.
During their stint in Seattle, Allen and Lewis formed a high-scoring duo that could put up points in bunches. They were two of the best shooters in the league, each averaging over 20 points per game in their final three seasons together. Both players were selected to the Western Conference All-Star team in 2005, when they led the Sonics to 52 wins.
After leaving Seattle, both players went on to have success elsewhere – Allen with the Boston Celtics and Lewis with the Orlando Magic. Now, Allen and Lewis are teammates once again. Both players officially signed with the HEAT on Wednesday afternoon.
At this point in their careers, they’re no longer All-Stars, but they’re looking forward to reuniting in Miami, contributing off the bench and competing for a championship.
“Me and Ray are very close,” Lewis said. “We played together for a number of years in Seattle. Reconnecting with him, we’re both excited about it not only on the court, but off the court as well. We’re good friends and his wife is close with my wife. Over the years, we’ve kept a good relationship. The off-court chemistry is definitely there and we’re going to rebuild the on-court chemistry. When we played together in Seattle, we had some great years together. We’re excited to bring that back.”
Even though they are four years apart in age, Allen and Lewis grew very close during their time on the Sonics. Lewis was just entering his prime when Allen arrived in Seattle and he learned a lot from the veteran, on and off the court. After seeing how hard Allen worked and studying how he approached the game, Lewis followed suit.
“I stole some of his workouts when we played together in Seattle,” Lewis said with a laugh. “Ray is a professional. He helped me get to my first All-Star game in Seattle.”
Now, Allen and Lewis will come off of the bench and spread the floor for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. When asked about Miami’s potent offensive attack, Lewis couldn’t help but smile.
“You’ve got to double-team LeBron James. You’ve got to double-team Dwyane Wade. You’ve got to double-team Chris Bosh. And you think they’re going to leave Ray Allen open? They’ve got to leave someone open. I have to go shoot a million jumpers tonight so I’m ready to knock that shot down,” Lewis said with a laugh.
Entering this offseason, Miami had little cap flexibility, but that didn’t stop them from adding Allen and Lewis for a combined $4 million. Both players turned down larger offers from other teams to join the HEAT, the favorites to win the 2012-13 title. Not only is Miami bringing back their star-studded core, they’ve added experienced contributors who can knock down shots and complement the Big Three.
That’s bad news for the rest of the league.
Rockets Continue to Pursue Howard: The Houston Rockets aren’t giving up their pursuit of Dwight Howard. In recent weeks, Houston has been stockpiling assets and making it clear to the Orlando Magic that they’re ready to complete a deal for Howard, even if the center isn’t willing to give the organization a long-term commitment.
The Rockets and Magic have had discussions for several weeks, and Houston continues to hold out hope that they can acquire the six-time All-Star. Now that the Brooklyn Nets are out of the Howard sweepstakes, the Rockets are hoping to emerge as the frontrunner to acquire his services.
The two sides have discussed a number of scenarios, all of which would provide Orlando with multiple draft picks, young players and cap relief. Houston has even attempted to include a third team in the talks, in hopes of making a potential deal more attractive to Orlando. The Rockets may also be willing to use the amnesty clause on Luis Scola so that they could clear cap room and take back a bad contract or two from the Magic, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
On Wednesday, Magic general manager Rob Hennigan called Howard to inform him that the team was suspending trade talks and focusing on the head coaching search, according to sources close to the situation. He also tried to persuade Howard to stay in Orlando, but the superstar center showed no interest in remaining with the Magic. Hennigan and the Magic were hopeful that hiring the right coach and adding the right players could keep the superstar in Orlando, but Howard made it clear that the relationship is irreparable and he still wants to be traded.
The Magic will now look to hire a new head coach, with Lindsey Hunter, Mike Malone, Brian Shaw, Jacque Vaughn and Jeff Hornacek emerging as candidates, according to sources. The Magic have already conducted several interviews and hope to make a hire in the near future.
Once a coach is hired, Hennigan and the Magic will shift their attention back to the Howard circus, and the Rockets hope to be the first team they call. The Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks remain interested in Howard as well, according to sources close to the situation.
Houston has went all-in on Howard, trading away key pieces such as Kyle Lowry, Chase Budinger and Samuel Dalembert for draft picks in an effort to improve their offer to the Magic. Whether their moves will result in Howard’s arrival remains to be seen.
Holiday Impressive in Orlando: Through three days, Justin Holiday has been one of the most impressive players in the Orlando Summer League. Holiday has led the Philadelphia 76ers, doing a little bit of everything as he tries to earn a roster spot. Justin’s younger brother, Jrue Holiday, gave his sibling a ringing endorsement earlier this week. Jrue said that Justin is better than him and that he deserves to be on an NBA roster. After a strong 17-point, seven-rebound performance on day two and an 18-point, seven-rebound performance on day three, Holiday may get a chance. HOOPSWORLD’s Yannis Koutroupis caught up with Holiday in Orlando.