Rashard Lewis latest to sign with Miami Heat

TIM REYNOLDS
Last updated 13:01 11/07/2012

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Basketball

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Rashard Lewis has decided to join the Miami Heat, becoming yet another shooting option for the reigning NBA champions.

Agent Tony Dutt said the free agent forward and the Heat agreed to terms today, and Lewis is expected to sign his contract tomorrow in Miami. Lewis' decision comes just four days after Ray Allen agreed to accept an offer from Miami.

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 LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with even more shooters who can stretch defenses.

Allen's 2,718 made three-pointers are the most in NBA history, and Lewis ranks fifth among active players with 1,690 makes from beyond the arc.

Lewis will make the veteran minimum from Miami for this coming season, worth about $US1.3 million ($NZ1.64 million). He's picking up another $US13.7 million ($NZ17.3 million) because the final year of his most recent contract - a $US118 million ($149 million), six-year pact - was bought out earlier this offseason by New Orleans, who acquired the 6-foot-10 forward in a trade with Washington and then waived him.

Allen and Lewis are both likely to be introduced by the Heat on Wednesday, once procedural matters like physicals and paperwork are completed. Teams may start signing their free agents when the league's moratorium officially ends at 12:01 am Wednesday local time.

Slowed by left knee problems 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' numbers in field-goal percentage (.385), 3-point percentage (.239) and scoring this past season all were the second-lowest of his career. Only his rookie season of 1998-99, when he appeared in 20 games, was less productive.

Still, he was someone the Heat targeted early in free agency. Lewis met with the team this past weekend, had interest from several other clubs - New York and Atlanta included - before eventually deciding that Miami would be the best fit.

Lewis did not play after the All-Star break this past season, sitting out Washington's final 33 games.

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