Don't expect a lot of cheers for forward Rashard Lewis when he returns to Verizon Center as a member of the Miami Heat tonight. Lewis, the second highest-paid player in the NBA last season earning over $22 million when he played for the Wizards, produced little in his year-and-a-half with the club.
Lewis's legacy in D.C. will more likely be for the trades he was involved in rather than his time on the court.
Acquired in December 2010 from Orlando for the once-face of the Wizards' franchise, guard Gilbert Arenas, in basically a bad contract traded for another, Lewis missed the final two months of the regular season because of sore knee. In the 2011-12 lockout shortened year, Lewis played in only 28 games as sore knees again put him on the sideline for more than half the season. In 60 games played for the Wizards, Lewis averaged only 9.6 points.
"Obviously, he was injured the majority of the time," Wizards coach Randy Wittman recently said about Lewis. "It was tough we didn't get to see the full effect of what he was."
Lewis had many good years in Seattle and then Orlando when the Magic made a run to the 2009 NBA Finals but he was never able to find his game in Washington.
Instead of amnestying Lewis or buying out the final year of his huge contract, the Wizards dealt him to New Orleans this past summer for high-priced big man Emeka Okafor and forward Trevor Ariza.
That deal has been widely criticized as Okafor and Ariza both have struggled to play consistent basketball with their new team that's off to a franchise worst 1-13 start. There is still time for the two players to get it going but right now the Wizards are on the shelf for $42 million in salary between the two over the next two seasons.
Meanwhile, the 6'-11" Lewis was bought out in New Orleans and Miami quickly signed him, hoping he could stretch opposing defenses with his three-point shooting. So far Lewis has hit 16-32 three's attempted, averaging 6.5 points a game for the 12-3 defending champions.
Lewis is gone from Washington but he certainly is not forgotten and won't be for some time.