Just because the Miami Heat won the NBA Championship doesn’t mean they’ve spent the early part of the offseason standing pat. Instead, they’ve gone out and acquired some key pieces, including a pair of former teammates in Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, both for extremely modest contracts.
Lewis says rejoining Allen (the two played together in Seattle) was a big part of his decision in signing with Miami, but also that winning a title is his biggest goal right now. The two certainly aren’t in the primes of their basketball careers, but the Heat are only making their case stronger as the favorite to repeat as champions.
Rashard Lewis joined WQAM in Miami with Dan Sileo to discuss Kobe Bryant’s remark that the 2012 Team USA would beat the Dream Team, how the free agency process led him to the Miami Heat, reuniting with Ray Allen who he played with in Seattle, bouncing around the last few years, what his role will be on the star-studded Heat, and Dwight Howard’s situation in Orlando.
Who would you take in a seven-game series between the 2012 Team USA basketball team and the Dream Team of 1992?:
“It’s most definitely hard to go against MJ. That was a team the whole world was cheering for and watching. Everybody remembers that. I could never forget the Dream Team.”
How did you become a member of the Miami Heat?:
“Obviously I was analyzing teams and pretty much knew coming up this summer I would be a free agent after being traded to the New Orleans Hornets. You always analyze what teams you feel like you would fit in perfect with in trying to win a championship. I’m at a point in my career where I’ve accomplished a lot of things and the next goal is obviously to win a championship. … The thing that they’re trying to build in Miami and with this organization is something that they want to leave a mark in the history of the NBA. It’s going to be, I think, legendary, and I want to be part of something they have brewing here.”
Did the signing of Ray Allen in Miami play into it?:
“Oh yeah, most definitely played into it — a lot into it, actually. Playing back with Ray in Seattle, I learned a lot from Ray. That was actually when I made my first All-Star Game, playing with Ray Allen. He taught me a lot of things off the court as well as on the court. … We had some good years together, played well together. We played well with each other and I think we can bring that back.”
What’s it been like bouncing around a bit the last couple years?:
“It’s not always greener on the other side. But coming from Orlando, going to the Washington Wizards, most definitely [there were hopes for me] trying to win a championship in the city of Orlando and going back to play for a team that’s trying to get in the playoffs … I had the quad tendinitis at the top of my right knee and that prevented me from playing when I was traded … as well as this year with the short season. … I have pretty much been rehabbing all season long … to get back to 100 percent. I’ve been back on the court working out and hopefully I can get back to where I was playing when I was in Orlando and when I was in Seattle. I’m not coming out here looking to be a scorer.”
What do you think your role is going to be?:
“They haven’t necessarily defined my role, what my role is going to be. I think it’s still a little early for that. … But talking to Coach Pat and Eric, pretty much the same thing I did in Orlando — playing the 4, spreading the court, trying to create more space in the paint as well as maybe playing some 3, coming off the bench behind LeBron James or Shane Battier and giving those guys some rest.”
Who had the biggest impact on you coming to Miami: Pat Riley, LeBron, Dwyane Wade or Ray Allen?:
“Actually it’s a combination of all of them. You have LeBron James who obviously won the MVP. … Dwyane Wade has been there before; this is his second championship. And he’s most definitely just as talented. And I played with Ray Allen. … Pat Riley is legendary. He knows how to win championships and build a championship organization. And Coach Erik, watching him coach and not only that, but play for Stan Van Gundy and he was under Stan Van Gundy … and I worked well with that system in Orlando.”
Do you feel for Dwight Howard or think he’s maybe overstepping his bounds?:
“I most definitely feel for Dwight because he’s a friend of mine that I played years with and he was a big reason I was successful. … But I also feel for the city of Orlando as well as the organization because they’re a first-class organization that allowed me to come in and have a chance to win a championship. … In a way, you sort of feel sorry for both situations.”