SEATTLE (AP) – Rashard Lewis is leaving the Northwest and taking his game to Orlando.
One of the most sought after free agents this offseason, Lewis agreed to a “maximum contract” with the Magic, his agent Tony Dutt said Tuesday.
Lewis made the decision late Monday night after meeting with Magic officials in Orlando.
“He had a comfort and a gut feeling and he feels they have a championship core, and that’s what he wants to do is win a championship,” Dutt said.
The terms of the deal are still being worked out. He’s expected to receive a deal in the range of $15 million per season. The Magic wouldn’t comment Tuesday, citing league rules that an agreement cannot be announced until July 11.
Orlando can only sign Lewis to a five-year contract, while Seattle could sign Lewis to a six-year deal. Dutt said the Magic and Seattle are in discussions about a sign-and-trade deal that would give Lewis that sixth-year, help Orlando clear some salary and give Seattle something in return.
“That he’s going to Orlando doesn’t change the fact that he had good years in Seattle,” Dutt said.
Lewis opted out of the final two years of his contract with Seattle in late May, leaving behind a guaranteed $21 million.
Seattle, the only team Lewis has played for, had the first chance to meet with the 6-foot-10 forward Sunday morning in Houston. Seattle was among 20 teams that contacted Dutt on Sunday, the first day of NBA free agency.
Soon after his meeting with Seattle, Lewis boarded a plane for Orlando and liked what he heard from the Magic, including the chance to play with Dwight Howard.
“He feels like they’re going to be good for a long time,” Dutt said. “It was important knowing that Howard was going to be around a long time as well.”
Lewis is coming off his best season, when he averaged career-highs in points (22.4), rebounds (6.6) and assists (2.4). His age (28 next month) and his versatility to hit 3-pointers or score on the low block made Lewis a targeted commodity for many teams.