MIAMI FL - FEBRUARY 25: Rashard Lewis #9 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on February 25 2011 in Miami Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this Photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Former Seattle Sonics Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis will reunite with the defending champion Miami Heat. Lewis agreed to sign a two-year deal at the veteran's minimum with the Heat today, with the second year standing as a player option. Both free agents can officially sign the contracts tomorrow, once the NBA's moratorium on signings ends.
As I've said before, Lewis' deficiencies at rebounding and defense won't give him much playing time. Critics of the Heat sometimes call Chris Bosh a 6-foot-10 small forward, but he proved all of his doubters wrong with his strong performance in the 2012 Finals. The real 6-foot-10 small forward is Lewis, who hovers around the perimeter too much and rebounds poorly. Miami's versatile makeup will perhaps give Lewis a niche on the Heat, but I see Udonis Haslem getting more minutes than Lewis merely based off of his rebounding and defense. But even so, the Heat signed a player for the veteran's minimum who can get hot from the perimeter. Lewis is a better player to have at the end of the bench than Eddy Curry or Juwan Howard.
The Heat will have LeBron James, Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers, Haslem, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Joel Anthony, James Jones, Lewis, Norris Cole and Pittman under contract for next season. That's 13 players, two below the NBA's maximum for rosters. Terrel Harris, who played for the Heat during the 2011-12 season and second-round picks Robert Dozier, Jarvis Varnado and Justin Hamilton will play in the Heat summer league and could all vie for an open roster spot.