Sonics Notebook | Lewis says he won't sign Sonics' extension offer
Forward Rashard Lewis confirmed Monday night that he has no intentions of signing a two-year, $25 million contract extension that the Sonics...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Forward Rashard Lewis confirmed Monday night that he has no intentions of signing a two-year, $25 million contract extension that the Sonics offered last week.
He stopped short of saying he will opt out of his contract this summer, which would mean forfeiting the final two years and $21 million. Still, Lewis admitted he's giving serious consideration to becoming an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his nine-year career.
"It would be a freedom that I've never had before so, yeah, I'm thinking about it," he said. "You don't have many chances in your career to test the market and see what you're worth."
When told only two teams — Orlando and Charlotte — are going to be under the salary cap next season, Lewis said: "That's not what my agent is telling me. There might be more teams than that."
Lewis said he will decline the Sonics' offer mainly because his agent told him the team will be able to offer a three-year deal after the season.
Game at a glance
Player of the game: Rashard Lewis led all scorers with 29 points on 10-for-18 shooting. He also had seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Lewis converted six of 11 three-pointers.
Turning point: The Sonics extended an eight-point halftime lead (43-35) to 21 (66-45) with 4:25 remaining in the third.
Key statistic: Portland converted just two of 13 three-point attempts.
Next: Los Angeles Clippers, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Staples Center.
"Obviously there was an offer, but it would be not smart to sign a two-year extension when you can wait until the end of the year and get a three-year extension," he said. "Why do it right now? ... It would be better to do a three-year extension than a two-year extension. More security. More years."
Lewis' other option is to keep his current contract, which expires after the 2008-2009 season. That scenario is unlikely.
He said he's not upset with the Sonics but would have preferred to have handled negotiations in the offseason.
"My main focus is I don't want to be a selfish player," he said. "I want to try to help this team win ballgames. I think it's real selfish if these guys [read] about my contract every day. Then I look like I'm worried about myself more than trying to help us win ballgames. We're already in a bad situation. I think they'll look at me as somebody that's out for myself and not for the team."
Lewis said he plans to make a decision before the Sonics' regular-season finale April 18.
• Bob Blackburn, 82, the original voice of the Sonics, delivered a video tribute to Spencer Haywood, whose No. 24 jersey was retired at halftime. Blackburn, recovering from a quadruple bypass on Feb. 8, was the Sonics' play-by-play announcer from 1967-1993.
• Forward Chris Wilcox cut his lip and received several stitches in the second quarter.
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.