NBA@2: Lewis Ready to Contribute in Miami
Rashard Lewis had just been bought out by the New Orleans Hornets and he wasn’t sure where he’d spend his fifteenth NBA season. After playing two seasons with the struggling Washington Wizards, he knew he wanted to join a contender. However, he didn’t have a particular team in mind. That is, until he received a certain phone call.
“Pat Riley called,” Lewis said with a smile. “He called and said, ‘This is Pat Riley.’ I’m like, ‘Who? Nah, this is someone playing on the phone. Who is this?’”
After confirming Riley’s identity, the two men talked for quite some time and arranged a meeting in Miami. Several days later, Lewis had made up his mind: He was going to turn down larger offers from teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks to sign with the Miami HEAT, mainly because they offered the best chance to win a championship.
“It just feels like it’s a perfect fit for me to help these guys try to win another championship by stretching the floor,” Lewis said. “Even though they won this year, when I walked in the office to meet with those guys, you see a number of people in the office working on how they’re going to win it again this time. You can see it in their eyes when they’re talking to you. They’re very serious. They’ve got the competitive drive and they’re trying to see what they can do to, not only to try to win it again this year, but over the next couple of years. They want to be a dominant team in the NBA.”
“It’s most definitely hard when you’re talking to other teams that are willing to pay you a little more, but then you look at your situation, your career, how many years you’ve been playing in the NBA and what you’ve accomplished over your career: My next goal is to win the NBA championship,” Lewis said. “Not just to sit on the bench and try to win a championship by getting a free ride. I plan on contributing, going out there and hopefully being able to spread the floor. Me and Ray Allen can be pieces of this winning team. Talking to Coach Erik (Spoelstra), he says he wants to try and play me at the four a little bit to spread the floor and move Chris to the five. Not that I’m going to start, I’m coming off the bench, but I’m most definitely going to try to be a piece of what they’re trying to build.”
Lewis plans on being a significant contributor next season. While he has struggled in recent years, he blames his lack of production on several injuries. During his stint with the Wizards, Lewis was limited by right knee tendinitis and a bone bruise in his left knee, among other ailments. Now, he’s completely healthy and ready to make an impact.
“I want to start with getting back healthy after the past year and a half,” Lewis said. “Coming from Orlando and almost winning a championship there to getting traded to Washington and being pretty much injured with quad tendonitis and also a bone bruise, which really hurt me and kept me from playing at a high level, at 100 percent, it was unfortunate. I really wanted to try and help the Washington Wizards turn that organization around. It was tough for me, but I’m feeling healthy now. I’m pretty much just rehabbing, strengthening my glutes and quads and taking pressure of the knees. It’s just being on the court all summer long, just trying to get my body back in shape that it’s in during the NBA season and just trying to be ready to play with the Miami HEAT because I know those guys are going to be ready. I’ve got to be ready to contribute.”
Lewis started his offseason training several weeks earlier than usual this summer. He’s currently working out at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas. Whenever he talks about the HEAT, he starts to smile. He knows that this is the most talented team he’s ever been on and he can’t wait to begin the season.
“I can most definitely feel the competitive drive already back,” Lewis said. “Even though I’m strictly professional and did the best I can do in Washington, the injuries really did hold me back. After visiting with Miami and signing with them, you can just feel that competitive drive coming back. My first day at Impact, I told the guys at the gym, ‘Let’s go to work. I’ve got to get ready. I’ve got to be ready. You guys have to get me ready.’”
Odom Returning to Form for Clippers: Lamar Odom was dreadful during his stint with the Dallas Mavericks. He averaged a career-low 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists. Odom played so poorly that the team placed him on the inactive list, paying him to stay away from the team because he had become a liability and a distraction.
Now, after returning to Los Angeles, Odom may be returning to form with the Clippers. The veteran forward has already started working out with his teammates and he has made a great first impression, according to team sources.
Not only does he have an excellent understanding of the Clippers’ system and plays, he has been coaching some of the Clippers’ younger players such as DeAndre Jordan.
During a recent workout, Odom was offering advice to Jordan, helping the young center improve his passing from the post and spacing. Not only has Odom been a consummate professional and excellent mentor, he has looked good on the court and his teammates believe he’ll be a significant contributor next season.
“I love Lamar,” Jordan told HOOPSWORLD. “He’s definitely going to help us out this season, on both ends of the floor. He can guard multiple positions and play multiple positions. He’s going to be a huge threat for our team this year.”
Odom was miserable after having to leave Los Angeles last season. He never got comfortable in Dallas and he struggled as a result. Now, back in L.A. and in contention, Odom may be able to revive his career and remerge as an impact player.
Warriors, Bobcats Pursuing Landry: The Golden State Warriors have been the team most often linked to unrestricted free agent Carl Landry, but another team has also emerged as a potential suitor for the veteran power forward.
The Charlotte Bobcats are attempting to acquire Landry in a sign-and-trade with the New Orleans Hornets, according to sources close to the situation.
The Bobcats and Hornets have discussed a number of scenarios that would send Landry to Charlotte. After acquiring Ryan Anderson in a sign-and-trade with the Orlando Magic, New Orleans isn’t interested in re-signing Landry, but they would like to sign-and-trade him rather than letting one of their best assets walk away as a free agent.
While no deal between Charlotte and New Orleans is imminent, these sign-and-trade discussions are the reason that Landry hasn’t signed a deal with Golden State.
The Warriors want to sign Landry outright, but the power forward would likely make more money if he were to be signed-and-traded to the Bobcats. He’s weighing his options and is no rush to make a decision.
“I’m still just trying to find the right fit for me,” Landry told HOOPSWORLD earlier this week. “It’s still up in the air. Every day it’s something new. I’m just trying to take my time and make the best decision for me and my family.”