Rashard Lewis ready to move forward
Forty-eight hours after being dealt from the Magic to the Wizards, Rashard Lewis said this afternoon at Verizon Center that the shock has slowly subsided and that he's ready to move forward with his latest challenge.
"Going from a team that is competing for a championship to a team that's rebuilding, the goals obviously change for me," said the 6-10 Lewis, who was acquired Saturday in exchange for Gilbert Arenas. "I thought about that ever since the trade happened. Now, my ultimate goal is to get this team into the playoffs or into the hunt to make the playoffs and help these guys grow [by] being a veteran in the locker room, not by voice but most definitely by example."
Lewis said he had heard the rumors after Orlando's shoot-around Saturday morning. But that didn't take any sting out of the phone call he received shortly after lying down for his pre-game nap.
"My first reaction was obviously a little surprise as well as a little bit upset because it happened so quick," he said. "But my being in the league 12 years, it wasn't as big of a blow to me because I've been on teams where different teammates get traded. So I think I was prepared, built up a wall to where [I knew] it could happen to anybody at any time. I've seen the business side of it."
Lewis won't make his debut tonight against the Bobcats, saying he needs time to get mentally focused after arriving only a few hours ago.
"Got in this afternoon," he said. "The past 48 hours have been hectic. The hardest part was just that day. Like I was telling my mom, she asked me how I was feeling. I said I'm fine, I have thick skin. Once [Saturday] was over, I was going to be completely fine. Just everything was running through my mind 100 miles per hour. I just needed a little time to think, with moving, being traded, my family coming with me, living situations, there's a lot of stuff running through my mind."
One of the big questions facing Coach Flip Saunders is where to play Lewis, who played mostly small forward for Seattle during his first nine seasons and at power forward the past three-plus seasons in Orlando. Lewis said he doesn't have a preference, though he hinted that he feels he's most effective playing small forward.
"For me, it's whatever fits the team best," he said. "We have to put the best team out on the floor, if that's me playing the four position or if that's me playing the three position, what ever fits the team best to win ball games."
Regardless of the position he plays on the floor, Lewis said he knows he'll also be expected to contribute in a locker room that needs another veteran leader.
"Most definitely veteran leadership, veteran voice in the locker room," he said, asked what he brings to Washington. "Try to help some of these young guys. Not only that, the ultimate goal is to continue to get better every [time] we go out on the court and grow as a team and hopefully try to get to the playoffs."
With the Magic in a tailspin - they have lost six of seven - and his production slipping - he's averaging 12.2 points per game, his lowest offensive output since his sophomore season -- Lewis said he understood Orlando GM Otis Smith's logic for the making the trade.
"Wins and losses, that's what it comes down to," he said. "Especially when you're on a team like the Orlando Magic, an elite team. When the expectations are very high, any little mistake is going to be magnified. There was no room for error after the past three seasons I had there, after making the Finals, Eastern Conference finals. We started the season off the season winning. But at the same time, it was a little up and down. We lost some games, wasn't playing well, and overall, our defense kind of slacked off. I guess Otis felt like he needed a change."
"When you're on a such a good team like the Orlando Magic, some people have to sacrifice," he added. "I had to sacrifice some shots. I wasn't necessarily a role player ... but I was one of the guys who sacrificed. Hopefully I can get back to my old self [like] when I was in Seattle and I made the all-star team and I was playing the three position."
While the trade shook him, to be sure, Lewis also said now that he's had time to mull things over, he plans to use it as motivation.
"This is most definitely going to fuel me a little bit. I'm the type of guy, I've been doubted my whole life growing up, from high school to the NBA. I feel like there's always something in front of me challenging me. I just look at this as another challenge. When I was traded, a lot of people were feeling sympathy for me. I didn't want the sympathy."
| December 20, 2010; 7:05 PM ET
Categories: Rashard Lewis
Save & Share: Previous: Open thread: Wizards (6-19) vs. Bobcats (9 - 17)
Next: On anniversary of infamous gun incident, Gilbert Arenas moves forward
Posted by: rayjay1 | December 20, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ragtop4spd | December 20, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: djnnnou | December 20, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 20, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mrhney03 | December 20, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: tpridemore | December 21, 2010 12:46 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Darnell1 | December 21, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Darnell1 | December 21, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Darnell1 | December 21, 2010 12:51 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: JPRS | December 21, 2010 2:35 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: zack9633 | December 21, 2010 6:21 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: zack9633 | December 21, 2010 6:25 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: ajedwardsjr | December 21, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Samson151 | December 21, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Doobie_Sparks | December 21, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse