Wednesday , Jul , 11 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Rashard Lewis Officially Joins Orlando Magic; Where Does Darko Milicic & Jameer Nelson Stand?

Lewis has officially signed a ‘max’ deal with Orlando … However, the forward joined the Magic through a sign-and-trade; the Sonics get back a conditional draft pick and a trade exception … Where does Lewis’ deal leave Darko Milicic and Jameer Nelson? … Click here for news and analysis …

ESPN reports on Rashard Lewis joining Orlando through a sign-and-trade:

Rashard Lewis formally joined the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, leaving the Seattle SuperSonics

The Magic sent Seattle a conditional second-round pick, while the SuperSonics earned a trade exception believed to be in the $9 million range.

Lewis agreed to terms with the Magic earlier this month, yet no deal could be closed until Wednesday, the first day that the league’s free agent moratorium was lifted. The six-year deal — Lewis agreed to a five-year pact, but the sign-and-trade allows an extra year to be worked into the contract — is expected to be worth at least $110 million.

"Rashard is a young, athletic forward and a proven scorer in this league," Orlando general manager Otis Smith said. "We feel his skills will be a tremendous addition to our team and we are very excited to have him join the Magic family."

Lewis averaged a career-best 22.4 points last season for Seattle, where he spent his first nine years after jumping straight to the NBA from high school and going early in the second round of the 1998 draft. He’s averaged more than 20 points in each of the last three seasons, and is the SuperSonics’ all-time leader in 3-point field goals with 973.

Lewis’ acquisition is the first formal move in what could be a busy week for the Magic, who reportedly plan to announce an $85 million, five-year extension with All-Star center Dwight Howard on Thursday.

My Quick Take: It’s official. Lewis, the crown jewel of the free agent class, is now a member of the. A couple of points worth considering.

First, the NBA is a cold business. Otis Smith, Orlando‘s GM, claims other teams were trying to sign Lewis even though the two sides had a handshake agreement.

The free agent moratorium period is a good idea. Teams and players need that cooling off period. However, the rules are undefined and ambiguous. I can see the potential for problems.

For example, what would happen if a star like Lewis reneged on his agreement with Orlando and signed with a team that approached him during the moratorium? This isn’t illegal. But the fallout would be ugly.

Second, the Sonics deserve credit for completing a sign-and-trade and getting something back for Lewis. The conditional pick could be significant. Sam Presti, Seattle’s GM, is used to picking late because he worked for the Spurs. He’ll find a decent player in the second round. Of course, the conditional pick must materialize. The nine million dollar trade exception is also a valuable commodity.

Collateral Damage: and Jameer Nelson. The Lewis sign-and-trade doesn’t clear enough cap space for Orlando to re-sign Milicic. The Serbian shot-blocker will head elsewhere.

Lewis has a ‘max’ deal. will have a ‘max’ deal. Is there money left for Nelson to sign an extension? That’s a tough question. Negotiations between the club and Nelson’s people have been proceeding slowly. Keep in mind the point guard had an up-and-down season last year.

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