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Wizards Facing Decision On Rashard Lewis

Rashard Lewis has one year remaining on the massive contract he signed in July 2007, but it's very unlikely he'll return to Washington in 2012/13. Michael Lee of the Washington Post says the Wizards will likely "take every step to part ways" with Lewis this summer.

While it's clear the Wizards would like to shed Lewis' contract, there isn't necessarily one obvious solution for how to do so. Lewis' $22.7MM salary for next season is only partially guaranteed for $13.7MM, so Washington could save $9MM by simply releasing the 32-year-old by June 30th. The Wizards have also yet to use their amnesty provision and could eliminate Lewis' remaining $22.7MM from their cap entirely by amnestying him.

According to Lee, however, the Wizards view Lewis as having trade value and are expected to pursue deals around the time of the draft. Lewis' contract will be next year's largest expiring deal and could represent a chance for a team to clear significant cap room in preparation for the CBA's more punitive cap and tax restrictions in 2013/14, says Lee.

While it's certainly worth exhausting trade possibilities in case there's a team that would have interest in Lewis and his expiring deal, I have my doubts that Washington will find a suitor. Players in the final years of large contract this season, such as Antawn Jamison and Chris Kaman, didn't seem to attract significant interest, and Lewis has an even bigger price tag, which will make it challenging to find a trade partner.

As I wrote when I previewed the Wizards' offseason, I view Andray Blatche as a more logical candidate for the amnesty provision, and expect Washington to simply buy Lewis out prior to June 30th, saving $9MM. For Lewis' part, he still expects to be a contributor, wherever he plays next year.

"I still feel like I got a lot of basketball in me," Lewis said. "I know I can still play at a high level. I know I can still run and jump. It’s just getting healthy."

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4 thoughts on “Wizards Facing Decision On Rashard Lewis

  1. jdouble777

    Why would Blatche be the better Amnesty Provision victim? The guy is 25, makes 7M/season, and has averaged 17.8 and 18.2 pts per 36mins while hitting .445 and .471 FG% and snagging over 8 rebounds. He is the making of a All-Star and extremely affordable given his talent, even with his inability to avoid Metta Peace-esque decisions. Blatche would net something very worthwhile in a trade, I am certain.

    Clearing an old veteran that can not play at the level that got him the contract nor stay healthy enough for anyone to consider him a starter and is netting 22M next year is a luxury I can barley believe is feasible.

    With the addition of Nene and rise of Jan Vesley and Kevin Seraphin along with drafting A. Davis, K. Drummond, T. Robinson, or J. Sullinger makes both Lewis and Blatche more than expendable. Clearing R. Lewis’s contract could pave the way for a strong run at D. Williams who is undoubtedly going to test the market and opt for more length and money than the 1yr 17.6M his player options will snag. With names like T. Duncan, K. Garnett, D. Williams, J. Green, O.J. Mayo, M. Beasley, and other less know possibly out there having that 22M to spend on something other than Lewis makes a lot more sense. Even saving some and grabbing an Okur or Thabeet would be more logical.

    • HoopsRumors

      I like Blatche as an amnesty candidate because Lewis has a buyout that allows you to save part of his salary anyway. Amnestying Lewis would save $22MM on the cap this year. Amnestying Blatche and buying out Lewis would save $16MM this year AND clear Blatche from the books for the next two years, allowing for more future flexibility.

      If you like Blatche as a player going forward, Lewis makes more sense as the guy to amnesty, but after this past season, Blatche’s trade value is close to zero. He’ll need to majorly improve his conditioning and bounce back in a big way if he’s going to be an asset. He COULD do that — I’m just not overly confident that he will. And for a team that seemed to be trying to change its culture by moving McGee and Young, Blatche seems like the next logical candidate to go.

      — Luke

      • jdouble777

        If we Amnesty Blatche and cut Lewis then we pay 9M and Blatche’s 7M for nothing in return. Basically just burning 16M. We also get hit in the cap for 9M.

        If we Amnesty Lewis and trade Blatche then we burn 22M and get whatever Blatche would grab in a return. In this scenario, we lose an extra 6M than the other; however, we can an additional 9M in salary cap AND whatever Blatche would pull.

        I agree, Blatche is not going to be a Wizard going forward but I think we can both agree he has MASSIVE talent and COULD be a legit All-Star given what he has accomplished as such a young age (25). Therefore, I doubt the door will be beaten down but there are certainly several teams that will be interested, maybe some that are VERY interested.

        In my opinion, “burning” an extra 6M to gain 9M in salary cap, make a run at D. Williams, J. Crawford, J. Terry, O.J. Mayo, and whatever Blatche could grab makes more sense. Just making my case, I see your point and how that could work as well.

  2. Bbrowd

    trade him & 1st round pick for Stoudamire 2nd round & 1st next year

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