Hanrahan: Rashard Lewis can't lose

Hanrahan: Rashard Lewis can't lose
November 28, 2011, 5:35 pm
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The sooner the Wizards can unload forward Rashard Lewis's astronomical contract the better. Especially with an amnesty clause in place in the new collective bargaining agreement, now is the perfect time to part ways with Lewis so the team rebuilding can really get on a roll.

Let's be honest, there is no future here for Lewis who is clearly on the downside of his career. Lewis averaged just 11.4 points a game and was hobbled by a bad knee that limited his play late last season.

The Wizards should clear that path now and give younger players a shot.

If the Wizards cut Lewis, a 6'-11" swing forward and his salary of nearly 22 million, it would not count against the roughly 49-million salary cap.

After dealing away Gilbert Arenas's huge contract and personal baggage to Orlando for Lewis, the Wizards all of a sudden have what they had hoped for in cleared salary cap space -- except it comes a few years earlier than expected.

Wiz president Ernie Grunfeld's orchestrated trade with Orlando looks like an even bigger stroke of genius now. Arenas is washed up in Orlando and Lewis could be off the books for good.

Lewis has two years on his contract left with 32-million of it guaranteed and a 10-million buyout for the 2012-13 season.

Either way, Lewis is in great shape because he still gets paid -- but for the development of the youthful Wizards, they have to move forward without him.

The Wizards drafted two athletic and raw forwards in Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton and the team hopes they can step in and contribute right away.

If Lewis is cut, it would free up a ton of money for the team possibly to sign restricted free-agent Nick Young to a long-term deal. Also, the Wizards most certainly would have to ink other players just to get to the league minimum for team salary. That's how much a chunk of the cap Lewis takes up.

It's a good problem to have if you are Ernie Grunfeld. But if the plan all along was to unload Lewis's deal, now that it's right in front of you -- you have to do it.