Florida Today's John Denton reports that the sign and trade involving Rashard Lewis has been accomplished, and the Orlando Magic will hold a press conference at about 10 am Pacific time to announce it.
Lewis will wind up making $126.4 million over six years in the deal, which sends a second-round pick Seattle's way (nice), and a trade exception worth about $17 million (fantastic).
There may be some casual fans who will react to this deal and say, "Huh? We gave up Rashard Lewis for a 2nd-round pick and some salary cap thingy? That sucks, man!"
Well, it doesn't suck. It's flipping terrific. Why Orlando went along with this is beyond me, unless they were pressured into it by Lewis and his agent. If I'm Orlando, I'd much rather pay out five years and $90 million than six years and $126.4 million. Plus, now they lose a second-round pick.
For casual fans who don't get it, the trade exception gives us the same bargaining power as a Theo Ratliff contract, without having to actually pay the bloated salary. It's really a valuable tool, and Sam Presti did the right thing in making it happen. Kudos to the Sonics' front office for pulling this off.
It hurts to lose Rashard, who was a great player for the Sonics and one of the best players in team history. He never missed extended periods of time with mystery injuries, you never heard him complain about minutes, and he worked on his game for all nine years in a Sonic jersey. Good luck in Orlando, Mr Lewis, and thanks for your efforts here in Seattle.