LeBron James may have been the most high profile player to leave the Miami Heat this NBA offseason, but the South Florida franchise said goodbye to several other solid roster players in recent weeks.
One such role player, veteran Rashard Lewis, had looked set to begin the 2014-15 season with the Dallas Mavericks after agreeing a move to the Western Conference team this month.
That move however has been called off after the two-time All-Star failed his physical with the Mavs.
Tough to take
As reported by Sports Illustrated, the NBA franchise has cancelled Lewis' proposed contract following what LA Times reporter Eric Pincus described as a knee injury picked up by Mavs' medical staff.
Lewis' contract with the 2011 NBA Champions was to have been for one year at the minimum level with Lewis to serve as back up to Dirk Nowitzki, but with surgery now a requirement for the veteran Dallas have subsequently pulled out of the deal as is their prerogative.
Lewis last season
Rashard Lewis was used sparingly by the Miami Heat during the 2013-14 regular season. The former Sonics and Wizards forward averaged 4.5 points in 60 appearances for the Heat, although he only started six games.
Lewis was given added responsibility by Eric Spoelstra during the postseason however, starting the Heat's final eight playoff games including all five games of the 2014 NBA Finals series against the San Antonio Spurs - a run which saw him hit five consecutive double digit point games punctuated by 18 points against the Indiana Pacers in Game Five of the Conference Finals.
What next for Lewis?
Rashard Lewis is now facing a difficult few months, with a fresh start for the veteran in the 2014-15 season cruelly taken away from him through injury.
Despite his advanced years, he would still be of value to an NBA franchise as a role player from the bench. But with surgery likely to keep him out for several months it is unlikely that any team will take a chance on him over the summer months.
Once recovered however he should be able to find himself a roster spot as a valuable addition once the season has begun.
A return to the Miami Heat, with which he played for two seasons and won the 2013 NBA title, could even be on the cards with the Heat known for given injured players a shot as they opt for experience over youth - see Greg Oden's 2013-14 addition for reference.
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