Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Tim Reynolds / The Associated Press
Former Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen drives past Miami Heat forward LeBron James and forward Udonis Haslem during Game 3 of the NBA playoffs Eastern Conference finals in Boston on June 1, 2012.
In short, he knows defenses could be a bit confounded.
Lewis and Allen signed their free-agent deals with the NBA champion Miami Heat today, with talk immediately turning to how the new faces — both 3-point threats — could extend opponents who might find themselves focusing defensively on James, Wade and Bosh.
"You've got to double-team LeBron. You have to double-team Dwyane Wade. You've got to double-team Chris Bosh. And then you think they're going to leave Ray Allen open?" Lewis said, flanked by Heat President Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra at his introductory news conference. "They've got to leave somebody open. So I have to go a million jumpers tonight and be ready to knock them down. Somebody's got to be open."
A few moments later, Lewis posed with Riley and Spoelstra, holding his new No. 9 jersey in Miami colors.
"He's played in a great program already. He's been to the finals. He's a winner," Spoelstra said. "We've had some great battles against him. To be quite honest, three years ago I don't think any of us really could have imagined this. Seeing the uniform with Lewis on the back of it, it's terrific. But the versatility is really what's key."
Allen agreed to join the Heat on Friday. Lewis agreed to terms with Miami on Tuesday. Neither deal could be completed until the NBA's offseason moratorium expired today.
Allen will make just over $3 million this season. He comes to Miami after five seasons with the Boston Celtics, who offered the NBA's all-time 3-point leader nearly twice as much money as the Heat were permitted to spend.
Lewis will earn about $1.35 million from the Heat, plus another $13.7 million after getting a buyout from the New Orleans Hornets earlier this offseason. Allen has one championship from his time in Boston. Lewis played for a title with Orlando, falling short in the finals.
And the lure of that elusive ring is what brought him to Miami.
"I'm at a point in my career where I've been on the All-Star team, played for 13, 14 years and I've made a pretty good amount of money over my career," Lewis said. "Everybody sets goals over their career and my next goal is obviously to try to win a championship. The ball can't bounce forever. I'm sure you all see the gray hair on my head."
Allen and Lewis were Seattle teammates for five seasons, from 2003 through 2007 — and both figure to fit perfectly into Miami's plan to surround James, Wade and Bosh with even more shooters who can stretch defenses.
Allen's 2,718 made 3-pointers are the most in NBA history, and Lewis ranks fifth among active players with 1,690 makes from beyond the arc.
Slowed by a bone bruise in his left knee this past season, Lewis averaged 7.8 points in 28 games for Washington. For his career, he's averaged 16.1 points per game with Seattle, Orlando and Washington.
Lewis indicated that while he listened to other teams, Miami was his target throughout the free-agent process.
"I think it's important, year in and year out, that you continue to try to add quality talent, experience and players who want to make a commitment to winning," Riley said. "And I think we found out the last couple of days how hungry Rashard is."